Just 10 days before 2020 Grammy Awards ceremony, Deborah Dungan, the chief executive of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, was sacked.
The shocking news ultimately opened a can of worms of the explosive accusations that would rock the body responsible for organizing the Grammy Awards.
Following her dismissal, Deborah Dugan filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Listed below are 5 accusations leveled against the Grammy Awards organizers:
Corrupted Nomination Process
Dugan expressed concerns about “irregularities and conflicts” in the Grammy nomination review process. In her EEOC complaint, she expounded on the topic and said Academy Board members try to “push forward artists with whom they have relationships” and “manipulates the nominations process to ensure that certain songs or albums are nominated when the producer of the Grammys (Ken Ehrlich) wants a particular song performed during the show.”
Dungan in her complaint, accused Neil Portnow, the former CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of allegedly raping an unnamed female artist. Portnow “allegedly raped a female recording artist, which was, upon information and belief, the real reason his contract was not renewed.”
she learned of the accusation last May while attending a three-day meeting of the Academy’s Board at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel after taking the job.
Alleged Sexual Harassment
The Recording Academy’s longtime outside general counsel, Greenberg Traurig attorney Joel Katz, allegedly sexually harassed Dugan throughout her tenure with the organization. At their first dinner in May 2019, before she even started the job, Katz allegedly suggested “the two of them ‘spend time together’ and said that ‘traveling to my many homes could be something nice for us to share.’”
When dinner ended, she says Katz tried to kiss her. The complaint states, “Ms. Dugan quickly turned away, repulsed.”
Racial and Gender Discrimination
The complaint includes an outline of the Grammy’s history of “male dominated leadership” and the underrepresentation of women and minority groups, both in award recipients and Academy membership. It highlights the fact that prior to Dugan’s hire,
“only two women at the Academy had ever attained the title of Senior Vice President; one eventually retired after receiving no further promotions and the other departed after her requests to be promoted were repeatedly ignored.”
Instances of racial discrimination perpetuated by the Academy are also outlined in the complaint. One example offered is that of a gay, black temporary worker who suffered a discrimination-induced mental breakdown after colleagues hung up a
“demeaning picture depicting him as a caricature with huge exaggerated lips.” According to the complaint, the picture was hung up for months and was even brought to the Staples Center when Academy employees were setting up for the Grammys.
A “Boy’s Club”
Dunham said the Academy was a “boy’s club” that placed their financial interest above everything else.
“In my efforts to successfully resolve the many outstanding lawsuits facing the academy that I inherited, one of the claimants characterized her experience of our organization’s leadership as “…it’s a boy’s club and they put their financial interest above the mission….” At the time, I didn’t want to believe it, but now after 5 months of being exposed to the behavior and circumstances outlined here, I have come to suspect she is right,” she wrote in her complaint.