Turmoil at the Grammys and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences: they’ve ousted new CEO Deborah Dugan, who began work on August 1, 2019.
The LA Times reports there’s an investigation after a female member of the board sounded an alarm about Dugan’s inappropriate behavior.
The Grammys are a week from Sunday. In Dugan’s place will step Harvey Mason, Jr., who’s a long time producer and musician. He’s an executive producer of the upcoming Aretha Franklin movie.
“In light of concerns raised to the Recording Academy Board of Trustees, including a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team, the Board has placed Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan on administrative leave, effective immediately,” according to a statement from the academy provided to The Times. “The Board has also retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations.”
The Times says Dugan didn’t fit in and I concur. By the end of the year almost no one in the record business had met her or had any idea what was going on in the NARAS offices. In late December I asked to meet her and she agreed. But last week when I tried to see her, she sent an email that just read: “Impossible!”
Dugan’s predecessor, Neil Portnow, ran NARAS for 20 years calmly and coolly. He was admired and respected and handled the job with real elegance. His one mistake was an off hand comment that female musicians should “step up” when he was criticized two years ago for not having enough female representation at the Grammys. This was right after the #Metoo scandals broke, and everyone was acting crazy. They should have left Neil alone. It’s not the NARAS CEO’s mandate to bring in female musicians.
What’s next? Maybe whatever was obviously going sour at NARAS will be righted. It all to be fixed ASAP.