The Recording Academy officially fired their CEO and president, Deborah Dugan, on March 3.

The organization told its members on Monday, “This decision of the Board, with full support of the Executive Committee, was based on: Two exhaustive, costly independent investigations relating to Ms. Dugan and the allegations made against her and by her.”

Dugan was removed from her position last January, three weeks after filing a 44-page discriminitation complaint alleging sexual harassment, corrupt voting procedures, unequal pay and gender discrimination. She claimed that the institution’s practices used “tactics reminiscent of those deployed by individuals defending Harvey Weinstein.”

Among the several allegations, Dugan claimed that Grammy lawer, Joel Ketz, sexually harassed her. She stated that Latz commented on her good looks and called her “babe.” “The evening went on to trying to kiss me. All the way through I felt like I was being tested in how I would acquiesce,” she said.


The Academy said in a statement that “all allegations against the Recording Academy are categorically false and that the allegations made against her true.”

Dugan was hired in 2018 to become the Recording Academy’s first female president. Dugan symbolized a fresh start after her predecessor, Neil Portnow, was accused of rape and received widespread backlash for commenting that women in the music industry should “step up” in order to be recognized by the Academy. In her short five months as president, Dugan approved a series of changes to address the ceremony’s issues of diversity and gender imbalance.

“While I am disappointed by this latest development,” said Dugan in a statement.”I am not surprised given the academy’s pattern of dealing with whistle-blowers. Is anyone surprised that its purported investigations did not include interviewing me or addressing the greater claims of conflicts of interest and voting irregularities?”

Complaints about Dugan were filed in November 2019. The New York Times reported that Claudine Little, Dugan’s executive assistant and Portnow’s former assistant, accused Dugan of a “bullying management style” which led the assistant to take a leave of absence. Dugan’s lawyers insist that Little was unsuitable for the position and that Dugan kept her “out of the goodness of her heart.”

The executive committee wrote, “We placed our trust in her and believed she would effectively lead the organization. Unfortunately, that is not what happened.” 

The academy will search for Dugan’s replacement within the next few days.

Celebrities such as Chuck D, Gabrielle Union, Natkins and Megyn Kelly have used their social media accounts to defend Dugan publicly.

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