This article provides a summary the events up to and after the Recording Academy its new CEO and president Deborah Dugan just 10 days before the Grammy Awards.
It has ten been said that “nothing happens in a vacuum,” and this certainly holds true for this scandal. The roots dysfunction at the academy go back well before Dugan’s suspension or even her hiring.
In May 2018, former MusiCares vice president Dana Tomarken the Recording Academy and its then president Neil Portnow steering funds from the charitable organization to cover deficits incurred by the Grammy Awards. That same month, Portnow that he was stepping down from his position.
In February the following year, Tomarken a lawsuit against both the academy and Portnow for wrongful termination, claiming age and gender discrimination. However, in November, the academy the suit with Tomarken, and it appeared to be moving in a positive direction with Dugan, who was selected to head the organization after an .
But the settling the lawsuit did not resolve the lingering dysfunction within the academy, which was exposed by Dugan’s suspension.
On January 16, the academy’s Board Trustees cited a “formal allegation misconduct by a senior female member the Recording Academy team” as cause for putting Dugan on administrative leave. There was also a report that Dugan had been a poor fit for the organization almost from the time she took it over.
Dugan responded to her suspension by litigation attorney Bryan Freedman, who promised that they would “expose what happens when you ‘step up’ at the Recording Academy, a public nonprit.”
In the aftermath all this, famed rapper Chuck D, who has had a lengthy history battling the academy, the situation by saying, “As always, a bunch ignorant, testosterone-fueled, usually old white men stop progress and screw it up. Same old bullshit.”