While musicians were preparing for this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, the Recording Academy was having trouble behind the scenes. Days before this year’s show, the Academy suspended their first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. The suspension was followed by a sexual misconduct allegation against former CEO Neil Portnow, claims by Dugan that the Academy was a ‘boys club,’ and Dugan sharing her belief that the Grammys are “tainted” by “conflicts of interest.” Now, Dugan has officially been fired by the Recording Academy.
Dugan’s termination comes after two independent investigations against her. One investigation was following Dugan’s claim of sexual misconduct against Portnow. The second investigation was looking into a sexual misconduct claim against Dugan herself, which was filed by her former assistant.
A statement released by the Recording Academy cites “the unwarranted and damaging media campaign that she launched in attempt, without justification, to derail the Grammy Awards show” and her “consistent management deficiencies and failures” as factors in her official termination. “All of this led the elected leaders of the Academy to conclude that it was in the best interests of the Academy to move on,” the statement reads.
Dugan served in her role for just under five months. While the Recording Academy may have cited the investigations as the reason for Dugan’s termination, sources told Variety that she ousting was a “coup,” saying, “Who are most of the senior executives in the Academy and the board? Older people resistant to change. It was too much change for them, too soon.” Another source also said, “She may have been asking questions like, ‘Why is the board so large,’ and, ‘Why are we spending so much money?’ […] There are people who had been there for years who knew they were going to be let go, and who knew they would not get a job that paid as well anywhere else.”