Recording Academy chief Deborah Dugan has been abruptly placed on ‘administrative leave’ over a ‘formal allegation of misconduct.’ The 62nd annual Grammy Awards, which the Recording Academy oversees, is slated to begin January 26th.
Dugan is being placed on ‘administrative leave,’ according to an internal memo shared with Digital Music News. Dugan is being suspended, ‘effective immediately,’ even though the Grammy Awards are slated to being in less than 10 days.
The Recording Academy Board of Trustees cited a ‘formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team.’ There were no additional specifics related to the allegations, or how long the investigation will take. Recording Academy Board Chair Harvey Mason Jr. will serve as interim President and CEO to handle Grammys oversight in Dugan’s absence.
Here’s the internal memo, circulated to Recording Academy staffers late Thursday (January 16th) and shared with Digital Music News.
“In light of serious concerns raised to the Recording Academy Board of Trustees, which includes a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy itself, the Board has placed Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan on administrative leave, effective immediately.
“Additionally, the Board has also retained two independent third-party investigators, who will conduct independent investigations of these allegations.
“The Board has determined this action to be necessary in order to restore the confidence of the Recording Academy’s Membership, to repair Recording Academy employee morale, and to allow the Recording Academy to focus on its core mission of serving all music creators.
“Board Chair Harvey Mason Jr. will serve as interim President and CEO pending the conclusion of the investigation.”
The Recording Academy Board of Trustees is committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace, music industry, and society.”
For obvious reasons, the development couldn’t come at a worse time.
Showtime is just days away, but the parade of pre-Grammy parties is starting next week. Already, Digital Music News’ in-box is peppered with Grammy party invites, and details on the awards show itself are surfacing daily. Whether Dugan’s departure will throw things into a tailspin is unclear, though one Recording Academy insider said ‘these accusations better be pretty damn serious’.
Beyond the immediate logistical nightmare, the development also points to a Recording Academy in disarray. Just recently, the Academy pushed longtime chief Neil Portnow after he gaffed by telling women to ‘step up’ if they wanted more awards. Dugan stepped into Portnow’s seasoned shoes, but inherited an organization battling serious allegations of sexism.
After Portnow’s exit, the Academy struggled to reshape its image. But despite accusations of gender bias, the Recording Academy strangely announced a splashy pre-Grammy event honoring Dr. Dre. The rapper brutally beat up MTV veejay Dee Barnes in the 90s, then bragged about the attack. He’s also been accused of numerous other incidents involving extreme violence against women.
Another major concern is that awards show ratings seem to be taking a ratings bath. But that’s obviously the least of Dugan’s concerns right now.
More as this develops.