Deborah Dugan—the former Grammys president and CEO who was put on administrative leave following an allegation of misconduct from the former assistant of her predecessor, Neil Portnow—recently filed a complaint detailing her own allegations of sexual harassment, corruption, and racial discrimination within the Recording Academy.
The complaint outlined what Dugan viewed as a corrupt nominations process for the Grammy Awards, one in which an artist who “initially ranked 18 out of 20 in the 2019 ‘Song of the Year’ category” was ultimately nominated that same year after being allowed to sit on the nominations committee. It also stated that this artist was represented by a member of the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy.
Now, the Recording Academy has responded regarding the Grammy nomination process, denying Dugan’s claims of corruption. “Spurious allegations claiming members or committees use our process to push forward nominations for artists they have relationships with are categorically false, misleading and wrong,” Chief Awards Officer Bill Freimuth wrote in a statement sent to Pitchfork. “This process is strictly enforced with everyone involved and has no exceptions.”
The full statement reads:
It is the goal of the Recording Academy to ensure the GRAMMY Awards process is led in a fair and ethical manner and that voting members make their choices based solely on the artistic excellence and technical merits of eligible recordings.
Spurious allegations claiming members or committees use our process to push forward nominations for artists they have relationships with are categorically false, misleading and wrong. This process is strictly enforced with everyone involved and has no exceptions.
The Nomination Review Committees are made up of a diverse group of current and relevant music creators with a high level of expertise in their respective genres. These committee members are all Voting Members. Committees are built by the Chair in consultation with the President/CEO and Chief Awards Officer using names submitted by all Academy Chapters. Many are Trustees. They are chosen weeks before the 1st round entry list is created so it is unknown whether any of the approved members will have been involved in a potential nomination. Because these committee members are at the top of their craft, and many members work with multiple artists, it is not unusual that some of the people in each room will end up with nominations from the first round.
There are strict rules in place to address any conflict of interest. Should a committee member qualify for a GRAMMY, they are required to leave the room for the entire listening session and are NOT allowed to vote in that category. Committee members do not know the ranking of any entry and the voting is by secret ballot. The committees are not confidential, but the committee members’ names are for the obvious reason of preventing lobbying from outside parties, therefore further protecting the integrity of the voting process. Everything relating to the nomination and voting processes is set up with the intention of protecting the integrity of the awards in order to recognize and celebrate artists’ excellence.
We remain fully committed to the integrity, transparency and robustness of the awards and look forward with excitement to celebrating the artists who deservingly receive them. We are acutely aware that many artists have worked a lifetime for this moment at music’s biggest night and it is them we want to focus on when we celebrate this weekend.
Following the complaint, the Recording Academy issued a statement to claim that Dugan did not raise the “grave allegations” found in her complaint until legal claims were made against her. In turn, Dugan’s team denied that charge. Earlier today, she went on Good Morning America* and *CBS This Morning to discuss the complaint and her allegations against the Academy.
Today, the Recording Academy Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion released a statement expressing “shock and dismay” at the allegations outlined in Dugan’s complaint. The group urged the Recording Academy to take concrete steps to follow all the recommendations of their report that was published in December. The Task Force is reconvening in 90 days “and expects to hear progress from the Academy by that time.”
This article was originally published on January 23 at 5:14 p.m. Eastern. It was last updated on January 23 at 9:03 p.m. Eastern.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork