Deborah Dugan, that had been placed on administrative leave last week about 10 days earlier that year’s ceremony, painted the Recording Academy as a establishment rife with corruption where powerful business figures exercise undue impact on who has recognized for music’s top honors.
She also described the academy as an”old boys’ club” in which misogyny runs rampant.
“I was shocked when I got there of the level of sexism and corruption that I found at the Recording Academy,” Dugan told NBC News’ Kate Snow on Thursday, later adding:”There’s a layer of corruption, self-dealing and sexism that must go.”
Dugan is in a legal battle with the Recording Academy, which has said it suspended her while it investigates allegations that she had created a”toxic” work environment using an”violent and bullying” management style.
Dugan denied that description of her approximately five months as chief executive, telling NBC News:”I wasn’t abusive.”
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The interview happened two weeks after Dugan filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asserting she had been put on leave in retaliation for having delivered a memo outlining her concerns regarding the academy to human resources.
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In the criticism, Dugan asserts that she sent an email to the director of human resources on Dec. 22 detailing”egregious conflicts of interest, improper self-dealing by board members and voting irregularities with respect to nominations for Grammy Awards.”
She alleges unlawful sex discrimination, sexual harassment, unlawful retaliation and unequal pay.
The academy said Dugan’s allegations about its own voting procedures were”totally false.”
“The Academy has rigorous and well-publicized protocols in place to make sure that voting is totally fair — and free of conflicts of interest. For Ms. Dugan to indicate anything to the contrary is simply not true,” it said in the announcement, directing readers to an explanation of the voting procedure on its website.
Dugan elaborated on a few of her claims Thursday, portraying the awards nominating system within an essentially fixed process wherein board members, manufacturers, lawyers and other”people with power” from the business try to determine which recording artists end up on the ballot.
“If there are particular artists that the manufacturer would like [to perform] on the series, there are strong hints, influence, that might influence a select few from the nominating process,” Dugan said. She said she was aware of occasions when musicians could be sitting during meetings of this nominating committee.
In the discrimination complaint, Dugan alleges that major pop artists Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran weren’t nominated for song of the year in this year’s ceremony since people included in the nominating process efficiently took those slots to get their preferred artists.
Dugan insisted that artists were oblivious of the corruption behind the ceremony, stating that a”vast majority of those [nominees] are so, therefore well-deserving” and that her allegations were not attempts to steal the spotlight or to impugn artists.
She broke down crying as she explained her battle with the academy, stating she has had a”career of integrity,” including a stint as chief executive of the anti-HIV/AIDS nonprofit (RED).
“I knew going in that this could be difficult,” Dugan said, fighting back tears. “I had no clue what I would discover.”