Last year longtime Recording Academy President Neil Portnow retired under questionable conditions. The Academy named Deborah Dugan as Portnow’s successor.
On March 2, the Recording Academy fired Dugan after an investigation into allegations called out by Dugan asserting that the Academy was a “boys club”. Dugan also called into question the integrity of the nominating process when it came to the Grammy Awards.
Dugan also claimed that she had been sexually harassed. Dugan has been on administrative leave since her allegations were announced just a few days before the annual Grammy Awards ceremonies.
Claiming that some of the Academy’s top members acted inappropriately toward her, Dugan has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In two “exhaustive, costly independent investigations” relating to Dugan and her allegations, the Academy deemed that there were some “consistent management deficiencies and failures’ but failed to give any specific details. The investigations also included complaints of bullying by Dugan.
Dugan further claimed that she was not interviewed in either of the two investigations; nor did they address any of her allegations for “ conflict of interest and voting irregularities”.
Dugan said via a statement, “while I am disappointed by this latest development, I am not surprised given the Academy’s pattern of dealing with whistle blowers. So, instead of trying to reform the corrupt institution from within, I will continue to work to hold accountable those who continue to self-deal, taint the Grammy voting process and discriminate against women and people of color.”
Dugan further claims, “her ousting was also retaliation for calling out the culture of the academy.” She further claims that as president, she learned that former president Neil Portnow had left the position due to an allegation of rape. A claim Portnow categorically denies; adding that he was exonerated after an investigation.
Noting that they did have some discussions on a settlement package with Dugan, the Academy said, “we could not reward her with a lucrative settlement and thereby set a precedent that behavior like hers has no consequence. Our members and employees, and the entire music industry, deserve better than that.”
The Academy will begin the process of finding a new President.
Dugan’s attorney’s released a statement saying, “ the academy’s decision to fire her and immediately notify media outlets further demonstrates that it will stop at nothing to protect and maintain a culture of misogyny, discrimination, sexual harassment, corruption and conflicts of interest.”