January 22, 2020
The academy’s chief executive alleges sexual harassment, voting corruption and rape coverup within the organisation
Suspended Grammys chief Deborah Dugan alleges sexual misconduct in Recording Academy
Deborah Dugan, the chief executive and president of the Recording Academy, which organises the Grammy awards, who was suspended last week after a misconduct allegation, has countered with her own 44-page legal complaint five days before 2020’s awards ceremony. In it, she alleges sexual harassment and voting corruption in the company. Her most serious claim is the academy was aware of allegations that her predecessor Neil Portnow, who was chief executive from 2002 to 2019, raped an unnamed female recording artist.
The filing written by her legal team reads that after she was hired, “Ms Dugan was hauled into a conference room and told – for the very first time – that a foreign recording artist (and member of the academy) had accused Mr Portnow of raping her following a performance that she gave at Carnegie Hall. The news was presented to Ms Dugan as though the board had just learned of the allegation. In reality, they were well aware of the allegation at the time Ms Dugan agreed to take on the CEO position, but never told her.” The allegation of assault was, she was told, “the real reason his contract was not renewed” in 2019. She claims she was nonetheless pressured by the then chairman John Poppo to rehire Portnow as a consultant with a $750,000 salary.
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