Recording Academy Women Defend Board From Claims As Deborah Dugan Books ‘GMA’

By Patrick Hipes, Erik Pedersen

Recording Academy

Four women who who serve on the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy signed an open letter today today that defending the group against claims made by Deborah Dugan, its ousted former CEO.

“It is deeply disturbing to us – and quite frankly, heartbreaking – to witness the firestorm against our organization that has been unleashed,” Tammy Hurt, Christine Albert, Leslie Ann Jones and Terry Jones wrote in part. “The Academy is keenly sensitive to any and all allegations of harassment or abuse, and we support the independent investigations that have been launched.” Read the full letter below.

Also today, Dugan — who this week filed a federal discrimination complaint against the Grammys organizer after she was fired — will appear Thursday on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Dugan’s attorney Doug Wigdor confirmed the booking today on Twitter, reminding that Dugan’s “filed EEOC complaint alleges the Recording Academy is a “boys’ club” fraught with sexual harassment, conflicts of interest & corrupt Grammy Award voting practices.”

Deborah Dugan AP Images

Dugan’s complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also claimed she was sexually harassed by Joel Katz, the Academy’s general counsel. It also made references to claims that Dugan’s predecessor, Neil Portnow, allegedly raped an unidentified female recording artist, hastening his departure from the post he had held for 17 years.

Both Katz and Portnow have since issued statements denying the allegations.

The controversy comes just ahead of the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, which air live Sunday on CBS from Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Recording Academy placed Dugan on administrative leave eJanuary 16 amid an investigation into alleged misconduct. Interim president and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said later that Dugan demanded “millions of dollars” to withdraw complaints she made about the organization and resign.

GMA is the broadcast networks’ No. 1 newscast in total viewers year to date. It averaged 3.90 million viewers last week.

Here is the statement from the women of the Recording Academy’s Executive Committee:

As women, voting members, creative artists and entrepreneurs who serve on the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy, we are deeply committed to this organization and its affiliates and the good work that is done beyond the GRAMMY Awards – advocating for artists’ rights, providing critical assistance for music people in times of need and educating, mentoring and inspiring the next generation of music makers.

Along with our male colleagues, we have made great strides in increasing our diversity throughout the organization, both in leadership at the national level, within our twelve chapters around the country, and in the nominations. Diversity has always been a priority – although admittedly, not always easy to accomplish. The partnership with the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, led by Tina Tchen and established in May 2018, amplified those efforts, created a clear path to follow and opened the door to building even more bridges to the music community at large. We pledge to continue those efforts.

It is deeply disturbing to us – and quite frankly, heartbreaking – to witness the firestorm against our organization that has been unleashed. The Academy is keenly sensitive to any and all allegations of harassment or abuse, and we support the independent investigations that have been launched. Thank you for your patience as these continue.

We have collectively volunteered many years of service guiding and supporting this organization. We would not have taken precious time away from our families and careers if we felt that it was a “boys’ club.” We are leaders of this organization and fully committed to transformational change both within the Academy and within our industry at large.

We stand ready to address all concerns, allegations and accusations with facts in hand. In the meantime we continue to pursue our mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture.

Tammy Hurt, Vice-Chair
Christine Albert, Chair Emeritus
Leslie Ann Jones, Trustee, Executive Committee Member
Terry Jones, Trustee, Executive Committee Member

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/01/deborah-dugan-gma-appearance-recording-academy-grammy-scandal-1202838335/