Former president and chief executive officer of the Recording Academy Deborah Dugan recently appeared on both Good Morning America and CBS This Morning alongside her lawyers to try to clear up some of the recent scandals swirling around the Grammys. Namely, she was relieved of her duties due to complaints of bullying and instilling a hostile work environment. Dugan, in turn, accused former board member Joel Katz of sexual harassment. She claimed she was put on leave in retaliation for her claims and threatened legal action against Katz, and that former Grammys CEO Neil Portnow was up against a rape allegation from a female recording artist present within the Recording Academy.
Needless to say the whole business is pretty messy. On CBS This Morning Dugan made further claims, including conflicts of interests within the “secret committees” that meet to vote on the winners of each category within the Grammys award show. Notably, she points to the Song of the Year category, stating that a song that was listed at the bottom of the 20 song shortlist was bumped to the top five due to corruption. Dugan refused to name the artist for the sake of the “artist’s integrity.” “There is a system of taking care of their own, it’s mostly white males who are in those rooms that make these decisions,” Dugan said. “If you represented that artist, you have financial gain if they win a Grammy.” Dugan chuckled when accusations of her abuse were brought up, saying she “almost can’t keep a straight face” because of that accusation, noting her record speaks for itself: She’s never received a complaint from HR or submitted one of her own. “I wouldn’t go back unless they were willing to change. There’s a few bad eggs there, but there’s so many good people,” Dugan said before going off-air.
On Good Morning America, she claimed artists like Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran failed last year to get nominations for Song of the Year because of these conflicts of interest. She cites financial benefits for the voters, as well as relationships established between the voters and artists as the main reason. In her over 40-page-long complaint, she pointed the finger at the Recording Academy for refusing to be diverse, noting that Album of the Year never goes to worthy R&B and hip-hop stars such as Beyoncé and Kanye West. “I was propositioned by the general consul and industry lawyer for the Academy,” she says, referring to Katz. She states he called her “babe” and attempted to kiss her. “She filed the complaint, then was placed on administrative leave,” her lawyer says. He claims the executive assistant who complained about Dugan is working alongside the law firm that represented Harvey Weinstein. Across both interviews, Dugan is constantly railroaded and interrupted by her interviewers, particularly when she tries to cut deep into the issues at hand. Take a look below.