Public Enemy's Chuck D Slams Grammys Over CEO Deborah Dugan's 'Leave' Due to Misconduct Allegation

Public Enemy may be the recipients of a Lifetime Achievement Awards at The Grammys next week, but founder Chuck D has slammed the Recording Academy over its recent handling of CEO Deborah Dugan's misconduct allegations just 10 days before its annual awards show. In a lengthy note posted to Instagram, Chuck D praised Dugan for her "truth and courage to try and effect change."

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"As always, a bunch of ignorant, testosterone-fueled, usually old white men stop progress and screw it up," he wrote, as noted by Variety. "Same old bulls---. They want to keep it status quo and make sure things like Hip Hop stay the poster child of their f---."

"Never could I have imagined that pushing for the recognition our art form deserved would turn into artists being coerced into disrespecting the craft, themselves, the culture and other people only to chase the bag and validation from corporations and award shows who don’t care about you. I hope this letter will be a wake-up call for them," the note concluded, adding that while the rapper wasn't surprised at Dugan's ousting, he said it reeked of the "New Whirl Odor."

Dugan was placed on administrative leave earlier this week, due to "a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team," although no specifics were mentioned. In the meantime, Board Chair Harvey Mason Jr. will serve as interim President and CEO.

Dugan's reign as president and CEO began on Aug. 1 last year, which made her the organization's first woman CEO. Her predecessor, Neil Portnow, held the job for 17 years before sparking controversy with a comment after the 2018 show that women needed to "step up" to get ahead in the music industry.

According to Billboard, Dugan hired litigator Bryan Freedman to represent her in the matter, but their source also claimed she wasn't "a good fit" for the role.


"Once there were some indications that she was not cooperating with the staff and the board, everything unraveled surprisingly quickly and in a very complex way," the source revealed. "It wasn't like a single incident. It was a series of issues. I think it goes way beyond not just being a good fit."

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards will air Jan. 26, 2020 on CBS.