Thursday, July 18, 2024

Confirmed: Ousted Grammy Chief Deborah Dugan Demanded $22 Million to Leave Before She Was Put on Administrative Leave


Ousted Grammy chief Deborah Dugan wanted $22 million to leave her post as head of the Recording Academy. She and her lawyer made the demand before she was placed on administrative leave. Melinda Newman reported this first in I was stupid. I knew this over the weekend and was waiting to confirm it. So let’s say I had independently confirmed it as well.

Dugan and lawyer Bryan Freedman went to the Recording Academy trustees and made this demand after executive assistant Claudine Little had filed an HR complaint against Dugan and took her own leave. (I wrote about this earlier.) Freedman managed to secure $69 million from NBC for his client Meghan Kelly last year. So why not a Hail Mary pass and ask for a lifetime of salary from the Academy where Dugan had worked only since August?

Dugan’s salary is said to be just under $900,000, a good jump from her previous salary of around $550,000 from the (One)/Red Campaign, Bono’s charity. A three year contract would only be worth $2,700,000 more or less. But she and Freedman must have figured that bad press would make it hard for her to get another job.

An email went out to the Grammy trustees, I am told, with the demand. It was shot down.

Dugan is no longer eligible for Best New Artist at the Grammys this year. (I’m joking.) She will turn out to less than a one-hit wonder. Maybe just a novelty record, like the Singing Dogs. (Remember them?)

Just a note to Variety, which is trying to reduce the value of my reporting by saying I’m a “long time supporter of Neil Portnow.” Yeah, so what? He’s gone. He has just about nothing to do with what’s going on now. Indeed, he has NOTHING to do with Deborah Dugan, or whatever she did after she succeeded him. I was also a supporter of Harry Truman.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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