Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan was suspended after she sent a memo to human resources three weeks ago saying there was ‘something amiss’ with the Grammys, says a source who has come forward to defend the organization’s first female leader.
Dugan, who was placed on administrative leave Thursday by the academy just six months after she became the first woman to head the Grammys, was let go because of an allegation of misconduct brought against her by a senior leader a the organization, it says.
But the source has come to her defense, saying Dugan was sacked in an effort to silence her over what she was planning to expose.
Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan was suspended after she sent a memo to human resources three weeks ago saying there was ‘something amiss’ with the Grammys, says a source who has come forward to defend the organization’s first female leader
Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan and Chair of the Board of Trustees Harvey Mason Jr are pictured at the 62nd Grammy Awards Nominations last year in New York. Dugan was placed on administrative leave Thursday just six months after getting the job
‘Is the Recording Academy trying to shut up people who want to speak about their experience with the truth of sexual harassment, financial impropriety and [improper] insider benefits?’ the insider told the New York Post, referring to what Dugan was going to reveal.
‘Are they enforcing a confidentiality agreement where someone [can’t] speak their truth? This is so sad — [the Academy is] a boys’ club.’
Dugan also fired back in a statement through her lawyer, saying: ‘What has been reported is not nearly the story that needs to be told.’
In a statement released Friday to The Associated Press, Dugan’s attorney Bryan Freedman said there would be more to the story once his client was no longer restrained from speaking publicly because of her legal contract with the academy.
He did not say how she would be released from the restriction.
The academy’s decision to place Dugan on leave came just 10 days before the 2020 Grammy Awards.
The Academy would not reveal the nature of the allegation and would only say it was a formal complaint that came from a senior female member of the team.
The academy’s decision to let Dugan go came just 10 days before the 2020 Grammy Awards. Dugan (right) is pictured with Debbie White at the Billboard Women In Music 2019 ceremony, presented by YouTube Music, in Los Angeles, California, in December
A source told the New York Times that the complaint was made by the assistant to Dugan’s predecessor Neil Portnow.
The assistant, who also briefly worked for Dugan, accused her of a bullying management style. The alleged bullying led to the assistant having to take a leave of absence, it is claimed.
Portnow stepped down as CEO after facing backlash for his controversial comments at the last Grammys when he said female artists needed to ‘step up’ if they wanted to win.
A source told the New York Times that a complaint made against Dugan was made by the assistant to Dugan’s predecessor Neil Portnow. Portnow is pictured while attending the City Of Hope Spirit Of Life Gala 2019 in October in Santa Monica, California
Insiders have claimed that Dugan was ousted in a ‘coup’ by the board and staff who were unhappy with her shake-up of the business since taking over from Portnow.
Her suspension came just weeks after she told HR about concerns she had with the Academy’s governance and practices, including voting irregularities, conflicts of interest among board members and financial mismanagement.
She wrote in a memo she believed ‘something was seriously amiss at the Academy’.
Some have questioned the veracity of the complaint and pointed the finger at disgruntled employees.
‘I know a lot of the board members couldn’t stand her,’ one source told Variety.
Another said: ‘There are people who had been there for years who knew they were going to be let go and who knew they would not get a job that paid as well anywhere else.’
Freedman, Dugan’s lawyer, also is representing Gabrielle Union, the former ‘America’s Got Talent’, judge who threatened legal action against fellow judge Simon Cowell’s company Syco, which co-produces the show, after she was fired in November.
Union has alleged that she was let go show after she was told that her hairstyle and clothes were ‘too black’.
Freedman, in reference to the alleged silencing of Dugan, says ‘this is what happens when you step up.’
Bryan Freedman, Dugan’s lawyer, also is representing Gabrielle Union, the former ‘America’s Got Talent’, judge who threatened legal action against fellow judge Simon Cowell’s company Syco, which co-produces the show, after she was fired in November