World News

Recording Academy fires first female CEO, alleging misconduct

(Reuters) – The organizers of the Grammy Awards said on Monday they fired the chief executive they had placed on administrative leave in January.

Recording Academy Chief Executive and President Deborah Dugan was placed on leave just five months after taking the helm as the organization’s first female president and pledging to bring more diversity to the body, whose members vote on the highest prizes in the music industry.

The board cited an unspecified allegation of misconduct against Dugan by a female member of the Recording Academy, as well as “consistent management deficiencies and failures.”

“After weighing all of the evidence from two independent investigations, the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy voted to terminate Ms. Dugan from her role as President/CEO,” interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr said in a statement.

“We will initiate a search for a new leader who will leverage the Academy’s diverse membership and rich history and help us transform it to better serve our members today and into the future,” he added.

Dugan’s lawyers said in a statement on Monday that the decision showed the Recording Academy “will stop at nothing to protect and maintain a culture of misogyny, discrimination, sexual harassment, corruption and conflicts of interest.” 

The dispute erupted days before the Grammy Awards ceremony on Jan. 28, although the ceremony was not affected.

Dugan later filed a counter complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging gender discrimination, unlawful retaliation and unequal pay.

She also described what she called a “boys’ club mentality” at the Recording Academy, and claimed that conflicts of interest among members unfairly affect Grammy nominations.

The Recording Academy denied that the Grammy nominations process was rigged.

Dugan took over from Neil Portnow, who in 2018 had provoked outrage by telling reporters that female artists and producers needed to “step up” if they wanted recognition in the music industry.

The Recording Academy in December said it would double the number of female voters by 2025 by adding 2,500 more women.

Teen newcomer Billie Eilish was the biggest winner at this year’s Grammy Awards, winning five trophies, including album and song of the year and best new artist.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Dan Grebler)

tagreuters.com2020binary_LYNXMPEG212FJ-BASEIMAGE