Recording Academy Responds to Claims of Voter Fraud Ahead of 2020 Grammy Awards
With mere days to go before the 2020 Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy issued a statement responding to claims that the awards show's nomination process is corrupt. On Friday (Jan. 24), the Academy sent out a press release signed by interim President of the Recording Academy Harvey Mason Jr.
"The accusations are deeply unsettling and are just not right," the press release states. "It's not fair to all the amazing artists who have won Grammy Awards in the past and the ones who will win them on Sunday. It's also not fair to the artists and other people in our music community who volunteer countless hours on committees reviewing nominations. Don't let anyone cheapen or take away from what you have achieved -- and what you give to the industry in your service."
The statement then lays out a series of bullet points, explaining that the nomination rules for the awards ceremony were created by music makers, and that they have always been readily available on the Academy's website for anyone wishing to view them.
Next, the Academy asserts its gender diversity: 50 percent of its officers and executive committee are female and 36 percent of its board members are female. The statement also argues that the Academy has always held strict rules to avoid conflicts of interest when it comes to nomination decisions: Committee members who qualify for a Grammy are never allowed to be present during any of the conversation leading up to nominations.
The statement comes in response to the allegations of misconduct and impropriety that have loomed since the Recording Academy's president and CEO, Deborah Dugan, was place on administrative leave on Jan. 16. The New York Times reports that Dugan was ousted as CEO following a complaint from her assistant, who also worked for her predecessor, Neil Portnow, of bullying.
Dugan subsequently claimed that she had filed her own complaint with HR a month prior, after being sexually harassed by Recording Academy legal counsel and former board member Joel Katz. Her complaint also alleges gender and racial discrimination on the part of the Academy; that the voting process is corrupt; and that Portnow resigned after being accused of rape.
In response, the Recording Academy Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion issued a scathing statement about "our shock and dismay at the allegations surrounding the Recording Academy and its leadership," insisting that trustees consider the 18 "systemic changes" suggested by the task force in December of 2019. Following her removal as Recording Academy CEO and the filing of her EEOC complaint, Dugan has also also told her side of the story to the press.
"I was so shocked when I got there of the level of sexism and corruption that I found at the Recording Academy," she told NBC News' Kate Snow on Thursday (Jan. 23). "There's a layer of corruption, self-dealing and sexism that must go."
Prior to Friday afternoon's press release, the Recording Academy issued a statement of its own in response to Dugan's complaint. "When Ms. Dugan did raise her 'concerns' to HR, she specifically instructed HR 'not to take any action' in response. Nonetheless, we immediately launched independent investigations to review both Ms. Dugan’s potential misconduct and her subsequent allegations. Both of these investigations remain ongoing," the statement reads in part. "Our loyalty will always be to the 21,000 members of the recording industry. We regret that Music’s Biggest Night is being stolen from them by Ms. Dugan's actions and we are working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible."
The 2020 Grammy Awards are scheduled for Sunday (Jan. 26).
The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about country winners, fashion and moments at the 2020 Grammy Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest Grammys headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.
Grammy Awards Rewind: See Your Favorite Stars at Past Ceremonies