Recording Academy alleges Deborah Dugan demanded 'millions' to withdraw her allegations and resign

Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Both Kelly and Union have issued statements sympathetic to Dugan on their Twitter feeds.

Kelly wrote, "What did Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan report to HR re the Grammys that got her fired? Why is a PUBLIC, non profit allowed to muzzle execs who file HR complaints? What's in her complaint? The public deserves to know. #deborahdugan #thisisehathappenswhenwomenstepup #grammysstepup"

And over the weekend, Union tweeted, "Coulda sworn this is the same board that told women to 'step up'." "Clearly what they really meant was stand down, turn a blind eye to problems, or be fired. #DeborahDugan truly stepped up & tried to make necessary changes & was shown the door. Been there, done that, got fired too."

Mason's memo continued, "I'm deeply disturbed and saddened by the 'leaks' and misinformation, which are fueling a press campaign designed to create leverage against the Academy for personal gain. As Grammy week is upon us, I truly hope we can focus our attention on the artists who've received nominations and deserve to be celebrated at this time of the year, and not give credence to unsubstantiated attacks on the Academy. To do otherwise is just not right."

Dugan was hired last year in response to a public relations crisis that erupted in 2018 when then-President and CEO Neil Portnow said backstage after a male-dominated Grammy Awards ceremony that it was time for women to "step up" to receive equal treatment at the event.

He quickly apologized and said the comment was taken out of context, but many musicians, record executives and others called for him to step down. In the ensuing weeks, Portnow announced he would not seek an extension of his latest contract that was due to expire on July 31, 2019.

In the meantime, the Recording Academy formed a 15-woman, three-man task force to study "conscious and unconscious bias" in the music business and within the academy that were impeding women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community from being represented in step with the demographics of the country's general population.


The task force issued its final report last month, with 18 specific recommendations for change. In several places it referred to the gender and racial imbalances within the academy's 25,000-strong membership as well as its 40-member board of trustees and the select nominating review committees that oversee many of the highest-profile Grammy Award categories.

The 62nd Grammy Awards take place on Sunday at Staples Center.

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