Suspended Grammys CEO fired by Recording Academy

Deborah Dugan (Photo: Getty Images)
Deborah Dugan (Photo: Getty Images)

The embattled former CEO of the Recording Academy, the organisation behind the Grammys, was fired on Monday, the latest development in the body's infighting saga.

The academy announced the termination of Deborah Dugan's contract in a letter, published in full by entertainment news outlet Variety, that circulated among the organization's members, citing "consistent management deficiencies and failures."

The decision comes just over a month after Dugan was suddenly suspended days before the 2020 Grammy Awards show on accusations of misconduct and bullying, after which she filed an explosive complaint accusing the body of silencing her concerns over sexual harassment and voting irregularities.

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"While I am disappointed by this latest development, I am not surprised given the Academy's pattern of dealing with whistleblowers," Dugan said in a statement sent to AFP by her legal team.

"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 colour," she continued.

"Artists deserve better. To me, this is the real meaning of 'stepping up.'"

Her last line was a jab at her predecessor Neil Portnow, who in her complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission she accused of raping a foreign female recording artist, an allegation he has flatly denied.

Dugan replaced Portnow - who left his position after saying women should "step up" for industry recognition - last May, becoming the first woman to lead the Recording Academy.

In 2018 the organisation created a task force in response to a major backlash that the Grammys are consistently too male and too white.

Dugan's lawyers, Douglas Wigdor and Michael Willemin, vowed Monday the academy's "leadership and its attorneys will be held accountable under the law."

Compiled by Alex Isaacs.