The GRAMMYs are this Sunday on CBS. You might recall that bands like Tool, Killswitch Engage, Death Angel, Candlemass and I Prevail are nominated. The full list is here. As musicians pick out their fanciest attire, the GRAMMY board themselves are facing a wave of bad press.
Recording Academy chief Deborah Dugan was recently suspended from her job on accusations of creating a 'toxic and intolerable' work environment. She was accused of bullying and abuse by a female employee. Dugan retaliated by filing a 44-page discrimination complaint, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming she was paid "substantially less" than her male predecessors, that she was the victim of sexual harassment and outlining how the Grammy board corrupted the nomination process.
BBC details the story, and for the purpose of this piece, we want to focus on the Grammy nomination corruption. Here is what the report entailed, according to BBC:
- Some committee members represent or have relationships with the nominated artists, and push them onto the ballot
- The board can arbitrarily nominate people who did not even make the longlist
- The board "manipulates the nominations process to ensure that certain songs or albums are nominated when the producer of the Grammys wants a particular song performed during the show"
- The committee reviewing nominations for the 2019 song of the year award chose as one of its eight final nominees a song that had initially ranked 18th out of 20. Dugan alleges the artist behind the song was allowed to sit on the committee
The complaint also criticises the lack of diversity in these committees, saying that "between 2012 and the present, the board has been approximately 68% male and 69% Caucasian".
The Recording Academy has responded to these claims by launching a full investigation on the charges that Dugan is alleging, as well as the charges against Dugan.
The Academy's official response to the allegations:
"It is curious that Ms Dugan never raised these grave allegations until a week after legal claims were made against her personally by a female employee who alleged Ms Dugan had created a 'toxic and intolerable' work environment and engaged in 'abusive and bullying conduct'.
"We immediately launched independent investigations to review both Ms Dugan's potential misconduct and her subsequent allegations. Both of these investigations remain ongoing."
"Our loyalty will always be to the 25,000 members of the recording industry. We regret that 'Music's Biggest Night' is being stolen from them by Ms Dugan's actions and we are working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible."
These are certainly some timely accusations to make, and I'm curious how, if at all thorough, the investigation goes. Do you believe Dugan?