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Grammys Chief Deborah Dugan Removed Over ‘Misconduct’

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Deborah Dugan

The chief executive of the Recording Academy, Deborah Dugan, has been removed from her position just 10 days before the Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

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Dugan was placed on administrative leave following an allegation of misconduct, the Academy said in a statement.

In a statement, the Recording Academy said: “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.

“The board has also retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations.”

“The board determined this action to be necessary in order to restore the confidence of the Recording Academy’s membership, repair Recording Academy employee morale, and allow the Recording Academy to focus on its mission of serving all music creators.”

Dugan who was the first female president of the Recording Academy had replaced former chief executive Neil Portnow, who caused controversy in 2018 when he suggested female artists should “step up” if they wanted to be recognised at the Grammys.

Board chairman Harvey Mason Jr will step into Dugan’s role until the investigation reaches a conclusion.

He sent an email to members of the Academy on Thursday, assuring them that “the Grammy Awards and all related activities will go forward as planned”.

Dugan was formerly an executive VP at EMI Record Group, a position she held for nine years before taking on the role of president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, and then, eight years later, CEO of (RED), the nonprofit co-founded in 2006 by U2 singer Bono and attorney-activist Bobby Shriver.

According to Variety magazine, the 61-year-old had met with resistance in her attempts to modernise the Recording Academy, with one unnamed source calling her removal a “coup”.

“I don’t think she realized how political the Academy is, and how entrenched the old guard is. These people know how to keep their jobs — that’s what they do best.” An unnamed source told Variety.

The 62nd Grammy Awards are due to take place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday 26 January, hosted by Alicia Keys.


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