Posted On 17 Jan 2020
LOS ANGELES — The head of the organization behind the Grammy Awards was placed on leave Thursday, 10 days before the 62nd edition of the ceremony.
Deborah Dugan, who took the helm of the Recording Academy in August, was placed on administrative leave after “a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member” of the organization, the academy said in a statement without specifying the nature of the alleged misconduct.
The academy’s board of trustees has retained two independent third-party investigators to look into the allegations, according to the statement.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
“The Board determined this action to be necessary in order to restore the confidence of the Recording Academy Membership, repair Recording Academy employee morale, and allow the Recording Academy to focus on its mission of serving all music creators,” the academy said.
In a statement, Dugan’s attorney, Bryan J. Freedman, suggested that key details had yet to come to light: “What has been reported is not nearly the story that needs to be told.”
“When our ability to speak is not restrained by a 28-page contract and legal threats, we will expose what happens when you ‘step up’ at the Recording Academy, a public nonprofit,” Freedman added.
The news was first reported late Thursday by The Los Angeles Times.
Dugan succeeded Neil Portnow, who exited the academy last year. Portnow drew criticism for producing a Grammy ceremony in 2018 that many critics said had marginalized female artists and provoked a backlash after telling a reporter that year that women need to “step up” in order to receive equal treatment.
Portnow later apologized for that comment, insisting it had been taken out of context.
Dugan, the first woman to sit atop the Recording Academy, previously led (RED), a prominent charity co-founded by U2 frontman Bono in 2006 that raises funds to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases in Africa.
Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles and Daniel Arkin reported from New York.