Grammys Interim CEO Says Deborah Dugan Tried To Extort Academy Out Of Millions After Misconduct Allegations

The Recording Academy’s Interim CEO and President Harvey Mason has released a statement in response to Deborah Dugan’s threats to expose the academy after she was accused of misconduct.

Last week, news broke that The Recording Academy’s previous CEO and president, Dugan, was placed on “administrative leave” following a misconduct allegation after just six months on the job. Dugan was the first woman to hold the position. But that Friday, Dugan released a statement to the Associated Press, saying parts of the story are missing. “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,” her statement read.

On Monday, the Academy’s Interim CEO and President Harvey Mason clapped back at Dugan’s statement saying Dugan was lying and made an offer to the Academy to retract her threatening statements only if she “was paid millions of dollars.” Mason said that’s when she was placed on administrative leave until the investigation into the misconduct allegations was completed.

In his statement, Mason also included that the Academy is aware of “abusive work environment” complaints that were made against Dugan in November 2019 and in December, which were filed by staff member’s attorney. “A letter was sent from an attorney representing a staff member that included additional detailed and serious allegations of a ‘toxic and intolerable’ and ‘abusive and bullying’ environment created by Ms. Dugan towards the staff. Given these concerning reports, the Executive Committee launched an immediate and independent investigation into the alleged misconduct of Ms. Dugan,” Mason’s statement read.

Dugan replaced Neil Portnow last August and became the Academy’s first female CEO and president after previously serving as CEO of #Bono’s (RED) organization. The 62nd annual Grammy Awards are just five days away and will take place on January 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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