Published: Thu, January 23, 2020
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Ex-Grammys CEO says rape allegation 'false and outrageous'

Ex-Grammys CEO says rape allegation 'false and outrageous'

The New York Times reported that the 44-page complaint reasons that Dugan was removed from the position as "retaliation for uncovering a range of misconduct at the academy, including sexual harassment, improper voting procedures and conflicts of interest among academy board members".

The first woman to head the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Deborah Dugan, was recently fired by the President and CEO of the Recording Academy, and she has since filed a discrimination complaint, claiming that she was sexually harassed by Joel Katz, the Academy's general counsel. As it was previously reported, Dugan was sacked from the CEO position of the Recording Academy this past week, just one week ahead of the upcoming Grammy Awards.

The academy board had blamed Dugan's leave on a complaint lodged against her by a former executive assistant to Dugan's male predecessor.

It adds that after sending the email, Dugan put the Academy on notice that she planned to take legal action.

Following the complaint, Dugan was put on leave due to a "formal allegation of misconduct [was made against her] by a senior female [staff] member".

On Jan. 16, the Recording Academy placed Dugan on administrative leave.

Portnow has now denied the claims in a statement to Variety Tuesday.

Mr Howard Weitzman, an attorney representing Mr Katz, dismissed Ms Dugan's sexual harassment allegation and said his client "categorically and emphatically denies" the charge.

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When the Grammy nominees were announced in November, Dugan had heralded "a new era for the Recording Academy", pointing to "an army of engaged members that welcomes diversity, embraces creativity and champions young musicians on the rise". Both of these investigations remain ongoing. She alleges artists in consideration are allowed to sit on the secret committees, and some songs are only nominated because the shows longtime producer Ken Ehrlich wants to have them performed on the telecast. She also claims she was pressured by the then chairman John Poppo to rehire Portnow as a consultant after his departure. Our loyalty will always be to the 21,000 members of the Recording Industry.

This is only a small sample of what Dugan alleges in her complaint.

Dugan says Katz and his law firm are paid "an exorbitant amount of money by the academy".

"We regret that music's biggest night is being stolen from them by Ms. Dugan's actions".

Dugan had recommended hiring an in-house lawyer to handle much of the work performed by Greenberg Traurig and another outside law firm, but the board instead made a decision to increase the amount of money paid to Katz and a partner of the other firm, Dugan said.

He also denied demanding a $750 000 (over R10 million) consulting fee to stay on as a consultant, which Dugan alleges was a proposal up before the Academy's board. "This year, 30 artists that were not selected by the membership were added to the possible nomination list". Portnow exited his position as Grammys CEO past year, resigning from his position after he came under fire for his now infamous remarks at the 2018 Grammys calling on female artists to "step up." .

Her claim dives more granularly into specific egregious financial accounting issues by the organization, as well as details of how it manipulates the nominations process, specifically pushing artists (regardless of measurable merit) that it has relationships with.

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