The Grammys deny allegations that the nomination process is rigged

Carla Harmon
January 24, 2020

"When I came in as the first CEO of THE RECORDING ACADEMY in 62 years, female, there are definitely wonderful people that work in THE RECORDING ACADEMY and also on the board, but at the very onset, in fact under the guise of a work dinner, I was propositioned by the general counsel with enormous power in the entertainment industry", DUGAN said.

Further, Dugan said she has submitted a claim with evidence that proves her allegations to be true.

Dugan was sacked only months into her job as head of the Recording Academy.

In her December 22 email, Dugan called the academy "a boys' club".

Deborah Dugan, the first female head of the National Academy of Recording Arts, spoke out for the first time on Good Morning America on January 23.

Deborah Dugan, who was sacked last Friday, filed a 44-page complaint with the Commission for Equal Employment Opportunities, a federal agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination.

In her complaint, Dugan alleged members of the nomination committee "push forward artists with whom they have relationships" and that it's "not unusual for artists who have relationships with board members and who ranked at the bottom of the initial 20-artist list to end up receiving nominations", Billboard reports.


In the complaint, she described the Grammys as a "boys' club" where votes were manipulated by "secret committees".

In her complaint, Dugan said her treatment of Little as her boss was entirely appropriate, and that she had done her a favor by keeping her on after Portnow's departure.

"I moved across the country, I had a great job", she said on "GMA". I am able to work with this group.

A crisis at the Grammy Awards has deepened after the chief executive of the organising body, who is now suspended, said she had evidence of "serious" irregularities in the voting. I could not say more positive things about each the nominations and everyone that performs.

Dugan also talked about the Grammys - whose voting process, she alleged, is "ripe with corruption".

"It's mostly white males that are in those rooms that make these decisions, and there's a conflict of interest", she said in a separate interview on CBS breakfast show This Morning. "Oh, my God, I hate that I'm in this situation because I'd much rather be talking about the artists and their music".

Regarding the Academy's statement, Dugan said "all along I had been bringing up what was happening" and that her ousting came "weeks" after she filed her complaint.


Moreover, the voting process has been widely and historically criticized as secretive and exclusionary.

"I don't want to say about the artist's privacy and the integrity of all those artists who are appearing and receiving nominations this year, but it's not just that one space", she said, noting that she has "evidence".

The broader picture of this story is how Dugan claims the Grammy Awards come about.

"Ms. Dugan repeatedly raised concerns throughout her entire tenure at the Academy, and even gave large presentations focused on diversity and inclusion at Board meetings", Douglas H. Wigdor and Michael J. Willemin said in a statement to CNN.

The Academy announced last week Dugan had been put on "administrative leave" effective immediately, following an allegation of misconduct.

"I'm honored, humbled, and ready", she said in a statement at that time.

But the current, very public and extremely grave accusations and counter-accusations flying between Dugan and the Recording Academy mean that at least for artists and industry insiders, this year's Grammy Awards will likely be overshadowed by some serious self-examination.


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