Deborah Dugan’s Lawyers Blast Recording Academy for ‘Despicable’ Firing

Grammys org “will stop at nothing to protect and maintain a culture of misogyny, discrimination, sexual harassment, corruption and conflicts of interest,” ousted CEO’s attorneys say

Last Updated: March 2, 2020 @ 1:21 PM

Deborah Dugan’s attorneys are fuming over the Recording Academy’s decision to fire their client and to “immediately leak that information to the press.”

“The Academy’s decision to terminate Ms. Dugan and immediately leak that information to the press further demonstrates that it will stop at nothing to protect and maintain a culture of misogyny, discrimination, sexual harassment, corruption and conflicts of interest,” her lawyers, Douglas H. Wigdor and Michael J. Willemin of Wigdor LLP, said in a statement on Monday. “The decision is despicable and, in due course, the Academy, it’s leadership and its attorneys will be held accountable under the law.”

Dugan’s attorneys will have “further comment later today,” they told TheWrap.

News that Dugan had been terminated came out a short while ago.

“After weighing all of the evidence from two independent investigations, the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy voted to terminate Ms. Dugan from her role as President/CEO,” Recording Academy chair and interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “We will initiate a search for a new leader who will leverage the Academy’s diverse membership and rich history and help us transform it to better serve our members today and into the future. As we structure this new search, we will look carefully to see where the last one led us astray and make any necessary changes going forward. Our focus now will be on the transformation agenda we initiated prior to hiring Ms. Dugan, and on working to improve the Academy. Much of this work has been happening but much of it is yet to come. We realize that we are not perfect, and we will use this moment to reflect on where we can be better, and pledge to realize a future in which our organization is known for its diversity, transparency, creativity, mutual respect, and overall excellence.”

Dugan was first placed on administrative leave in January. Read more about the Academy’s decision to terminate her here.

After being placed on leave in January, Dugan filed a complaint with the EEOC that accused the Academy of corruption and included accusations that the Academy’s private counsel, Joel Katz, sexually harassed her (Katz denied those claims) and said that she learned her predecessor, Neil Portnow, was accused of raping an unnamed female recording artist following a performance at Carnegie Hall (Portnow called the accusations “ludicrous and untrue” and said an independent investigation had exonerated him).

The Academy defended itself against the accusations of Grammy-voting corruption, calling the claim “categorically false, misleading and wrong.”

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