Music

Former Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan Speaks Up After Being Fired: ‘I Am Not Surprised’

Former Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan was fired by the Recording Academy Monday after spending only five months in the role. The termination follows months of publicity and two independent investigations into Dugan’s claims. Now Dugan has released a statement about her firing and her lawyers responded with further legal action and claims of corruption.

In the statement, Dugan says she wasn’t surprised by the outcome:

“I was recruited and hired by the Recording Academy to make positive change; unfortunately, I was not able to do that as its CEO. While I am disappointed by this latest development, I am not surprised given the Academy’s pattern of dealing with whistleblowers. Is anyone surprised that its purported investigations did not include interviewing me or addressing the greater claims of conflicts of interest and voting irregularities? So, instead of trying to reform the corrupt institution from within, I will continue to work to hold accountable those who continue to self-deal, taint the Grammy voting process and discriminate against women and people of color. Artists deserve better. To me, this is the real meaning of ‘stepping up.'”

Along with Dugan’s statement, her lawyers filed claims of discrimination against the Recording Academy. The claims detail multiple new allegations and charge a Recording Academy producer with attempting to influence nomination results, a claim that Dugan previously made. According to Variety, Dugan’s lawyers claim that longtime Grammy Awards executive producer Ken Ehrlich influenced the nomination process. The document reads that Ehrlich sent an email to Dugan in which he attempted to convince Dugan and her colleague to nominate a certain singer solely so that they would perform at the ceremony:

“Mr. Ehrlich, the Producer of the Grammys, sent an email to Ms. Dugan and Mr. Mason and outrageously attempted to use his position to influence nomination votes. Specifically, Mr. Ehrlich attempted to press the Academy into nominating a song by a particular superstar in order to increase his ability to convince the superstar to perform at the Grammys. The email reads, in part: ‘Looking at the [American Music Awards] nominations this morning, it’s more about who’s NOT there than who is…..and [superstar] is definitely not gonna be happy. I think there’s a case to be made to [superstar] that a performance of [song] from [album] on our show, should it be nominated and that a blowout performance of that song, which IS a Grammy song, might . . . So, should there be some discussion in a certain room at your meetings next week for Record, Album and Song, and if it involves making a choice between [one album] vs. [a second album], my thought from knowing [superstar] since [superstar] was a child, is that [superstar] might see the wisdom of a performance [of a song from the second album] . . . I’m jus sayin’.”

In conjunction with terminating Dugan, the Recording Academy issued a statement about Dugan. The statement cited “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.

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