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Ousted Recording Academy CEO Files Discrimination Charge

Deborah Dugan, the first female chief executive of the Recording Academy has filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to media reports, the charge reflects egregious accusations against the Academy. Dugan has asserted that the former male CEO, Neil Portnow, raped a female artist (a fact she learned after her hire), that she was pressured to hire Portnow as a consultant by the Board, and that she herself was sexually harassed by the Academy’s general counsel and former board chair, Joel Katz. She claims that Katz tried to “kiss her” and suggested that they “spend time together.” Dugan described the Academy as a “boys’ club” where men gathered and women are disadvantaged. Dugan had only been in the position since August and was placed on administrative leave just ten days before the Grammy Awards were set to air. Last month, Dugan had committed to a major restructuring of the Grammys to meet goals for increased gender and racial diversity in the awards process.
The Academy has responded, claiming that a female employee had brought forward allegations that Dugan had created a “toxic and intolerable” work environment. She was accused of being a bully. Katz and Portnow have denied the charges against them, calling them “inaccurate” and “false.” Portnow states that an investigation has already been conducted into the allegations and that he was “completely exonerated.” Katz similarly denies that charges of harassment, alleging that their meeting was professional and productive.