Deborah Dugan, who served as CEO of the Recording Academy until she was cashiered last week, appeared on several talk shows this morning to address the controversy sparked by a complaint she filed with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In that complaint, Dugan makes a number of explosive claims involving sexual harassment, voting irregularities at the Grammys, general corruption at the Academy and, most dramatic of all, rape.
Dugan filed her complain after she was placed on administrative leave by the Academy, which said the move was prompted by a “formal allegation of misconduct” against her. But Dugan maintains she was forced out after complaining about the above issues internally.
Dugan’s complaint accuses the Academy of enabling sexual harassment. As an example, she recounts a dinner with Academy executive Joel Katz during which she says Katz made sexually inappropriate comments to her before trying to kiss her.
“I felt like I was being tested in how much I would acquiesce,” she told Good Morning America. “And I realized that that was a power-setting move, just on the onset, as I was coming in to the committee.”
Katz has denied the accusation.
Appearing on CBS This Morning, Dugan elaborated on her claim that the Academy is corrupt and plagued by conflicts of interest.
“In that room not only are there trustees that have conflicts of interest on particular artists that are nominated, but more importantly there are even artists that are nominated that are in the room,” she said. “So for me that’s just such a blatant conflict of interest.”
To the question of whether the term “rigged” is an apt word to use to describe the process, Dugan responded, “Yes it is.”
“All along I spotted things, saying ‘this doesn’t seem right,’ and sort of complaining all along quite frankly,” she continued. “But I kept wanting to make it work, I kept wanting to make a difference from the inside. I only have come out to be here today because I have been so severely retaliated against.”
The most explosive part of Dugan’s complaint is the claim that her predecessor as CEO, Neil Portnow, was let go after being accused of raping a “foreign” recording artist. Portnow published a statement in which he called the allegation “ludicrous and untrue.”
In spite of all that, Dugan said she plans to watch the Grammy Awards this Sunday.
“I worked very hard on the show,” she said on Good Morning America. “And I love the artists that are going to be performing and I love all those that are nominated that don’t get the honor of being on the show.”