Grammy CEO, Deborah Dugan, Fired By Recording Academy

Grammy CEO, Deborah Dugan, Fired By Recording Academy


This past Monday (March 2), the Executive Committee of the Recording Academy released a statement revealing that they were firing their CEO/President, Deborah Dugan. Prior to her expulsion from her position, Dugan was accused of extorting the Academy of $22 million. However, just days prior to the 2020 Grammy Awards, she was placed on administrative leave by the Academy after accusing the collective of being a “boys club,” filing a sexual harassment complaint, and revealing that the Academy rigged the voting process for their own benefit.    Grammy CEO, Deborah Dugan, Fired By Recording Academy Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

In April 2019, Deborah Dugan made history becoming the Grammy Awards’ first-ever woman CEO. Yet her tenure as President of the Recording Academy was short-lived due to her disputes with multiple members across the committee. According to Rolling Stone, the Board of Trustees voted for her termination and justified that her firing claiming that after “exhaustive and costly” investigations in relation to Ms. Dugan were unworthy of recognition. 

The Recording Academy also stated that the investigations of her sexual harassment and collusion claims were conducted by a contingent of individuals who had no relationship with their organization. The Academy claims that her firing was warranted also due to Dugan’s “consistent management deficiencies and failures, and other factors.” 

In her defense, Deborah Dugan and her legal team released a public statement to Rolling Stone, stating:

“I was recruited and hired by the Recording Academy to make positive change; unfortunately, I was not able to do that as its CEO. While I am disappointed by this latest development, I am not surprised given the Academy’s pattern of dealing with whistleblowers. Is anyone surprised that its purported investigations did not include interviewing me or addressing the greater claims of conflicts of interest and voting irregularities? So, 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 color. Artists deserve better. To me, this is the real meaning of ‘stepping up.'”

 Dugan’s legal council also chastised the Recording Academy’s decision to leak her firing to the public, adding:

“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. The decision is despicable and, in due course, the Academy, its leadership and its attorneys will be held accountable under the law.”

While the 2020 Grammys provided an entertaining musical display, the celebration drew in low ratings drew in low ratings with just 18.7 million viewers from the ages 18-47. While it looks like Deborah Dugan’s firing might be shady, hopefully, the Recording Academy can get their organization in good and fair standing in the future. 

Check out Tyler, The Creator‘s 62nd annual Grammy Awards performance in the video provided below.