Deborah Dugan and Recording Academy Settle Dispute Over Her Firing

Deborah Dugan and Recording Academy Settle Dispute Over Her Firing

June 25, 2021

Dugan was fired by the Grammys organization in 2020


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Former Recording Academy president Deborah Dugan has agreed to settle with the organization in the dispute over her firing in 2020. The settlement was reached after a process of arbitration. The terms of the settlement are not known.

“The Recording Academy and Deborah Dugan have agreed to resolve their differences and to keep the terms of their agreement private,” Dugan and the Academy said in a joint statement issued Thursday night.

Dugan was put on administrative leave just days before the 2020 Grammy Awards in January following accusations of “misconduct” made by a female employee. The organization announced she had been fired in March of that year.

After being placed on leave, Dugan filed a complaint with the EEOC that accused the Academy of corruption and included accusations that the Academy’s private counsel, Joel Katz, sexually harassed her (Katz denied those claims) and said that she learned her predecessor, Neil Portnow, was accused of raping an unnamed female recording artist following a performance at Carnegie Hall (Portnow called the accusations “ludicrous and untrue” and said an independent investigation had exonerated him).

She also subsequently accused the Recording Academy of rigging the Grammys.

The settlement comes as the Recording Academy continues to deal with harsh criticism of its practices that for years have resulted in nominees that critics say don’t reflect the current state of music, prioritize white and older artists, and are selected under secrecy making it impossible to thoroughly scrutinize. In response, the Recording Academy moved to eliminate the anonymous voting committees that helped select nominations after criticism from pop star The Weeknd and others after he was completely snubbed from this year’s Grammys despite widespread acclaim for his “After Hours” album.

The Weeknd says he’ll continue to boycott.

Variety first reported the story.

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