Less than a week after she was placed on administrative leave, the Recording Academy CEO/president has filed an EEOC complaint against the organization over alleged discrimination and sexual harassment.
Billboard reports Deborah Dugan filed the complaint this week, just days before the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, and nearly six months after she was appointed the first female president/CEO of the Academy. Dugan's legal team confirmed the news via Twitter:
"The complaint that we filed today against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammys) highlights tactics reminiscent of those deployed by individuals defending Harvey Weinstein," attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and Michael J. Willemin wrote in a statement. "As we allege, the attempt by the Recording Academy to impugn the character of Deborah Dugan is a transparent effort to shift the focus away from its own unlawful activity. This blatant form of retaliation in corporate America is all too common, even post #MeToo, and we will utilize all lawful means necessary to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions."
According to the complaint obtained by The Chicago Tribune, Dugan claims she was sexually harassed by the Academy's general counsel, Joel Katz, who allegedly tried to kiss her during a dinner as well as repeatedly referring to her as "baby." The complaint also states that Dugan's predecessor, Neil Portnow, "allegedly raped a female recording artist, which was, upon information and belief, the real reason his contract was not renewed." Dugan claims she was urged to rehire Portnow as a consultant with a $750,000 annual salary. She also claimed that she was being paid much less than Portnow and his predecessor Michael Greene.
Billboard reports Dugan issued a complaint to the Academy’s managing director on Dec. 22, detailing the alleged harassment as well as "egregious conflicts of interest, improper self-dealing by Board members and voting irregularities with respect to nominations for Grammy Awards, all made possible by the 'boys’ club' mentality and approach to governance at the Academy."
Dugan's attorneys say the complaint is what prompted the Academy to place her on administrative leave; however, a source told the New York Times that the CEO was removed from her post because an assistant had complained about her "bullying management style." The Academy released a subsequent statement claiming board members decided to place Dugan on leave "in light of concerns raised to the board of trustees, including a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team." According to Billboard, Dugan called those accusations "false and defamatory."
If you or anyone you know is experiencing sexual harassment at the workplace, you can contact your local law enforcement agency. To learn more about this issue, as well as the available resources for sexual harassment victims, go to RAINN.org.