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Former Recording Academy CEO, Deborah Dugan, Reveals the Grammys Dark Secret

On Thursday January 23, Deborah Dugan, former Recording Academy CEO discussed sexual harassment and the irregular voting of the Grammys in an interview with Good Morning America.  


Just 10 days before the Grammys, Dugan was put on administrative leave and shortly after, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Academy claimed she was out on administrative leave due to a “formal allegation of misconduct” against her. Although, in Dugan’s complaint, she states it was revenge for an email that she sent, on December 3,  including multiple problems about the Grammys. A high level of sexual harassment, including a rape allegation against ex-CEO Neil Portnow, were included in the email. Although, Portnow has denied the allegations. 


In the beginning of the televised interview, Dugan spoke out about her own sexual harassment allegation against an entertainment lawyer who also served as the Academy’s general counsel, Joel Katz. He has denied the allegation. During a dinner, Dugan claimed that Katz made inappropriate comments to her and attempted to kiss her. Dougan said in an interview with Good Morning America, “I felt like I was being tested in how much I would acquiesce.”


Another major claim Dugan included in her complaint was that the Grammys are filled with voting irregularities. She remarked about an incident where an artist was nominated in the category of Song of the Year last year, which then led to that artist appearing in a totally different category ahead of artists like Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran. She refused to give names but she said she had evidence to support her claims and would only reveal if needed.


Dugan and Doug Wigor, Dugan’s lawyer, dismissed the Recording Academy’s claim that Dugan raised these issues when an allegation of misconduct was made against her. Dugan said she raised these issues because she believed she could solve the problems that were occuring in the Academy, not so the HR department would take action now. During the Good Morning America interview, Dugan stated, “I wanted to make a change from within,” she said. “I moved across the country, I had a great job, I believe in what the Recording Academy should stand for — for artists. I was trying at each step to say, ‘OK, I can make a difference, I can fix this, I can work with this team.'”


At the end of the Good Morning America interview, Dugan was asked if she would watch the Grammys on Sunday. She said that she will because she worked hard on the show. “ I love the artists that are going to be performing,” Dugan said. “And I love all those that are nominated that don’t get the honor of being on the show.”