Grammys Chief Deborah Dugan Who Was Ousted Files Major Sexual Harassment and Defamation Complaint

Recently ousted Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan is taking on her former employer in court. On Tuesday, Dugan filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Recording Academy, which is The Grammys' parent company. As noted by NPR, Dugan's attorneys, Douglas H. Wigdor and Michael J. Willemin issued a statement on the matter.

"The complaint that we filed today against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS, the Academy's former full name) highlights tactics reminiscent of those deployed by individuals defending Harvey Weinstein. The attempt by the Recording Academy to impugn the character of Deborah Dugan is a transparent effort to shift the focus away from its own unlawful activity."

"This blatant form of retaliation in corporate America is all too common, even post #MeToo, and we will utilize all lawful means necessary to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions," the statement concluded.

Dugan was put on administrative leave just four days ago, with the Recording Academy citing misconduct allegations, though it didn't go into any specifics. A statement did indicate that the company's board "retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations."

The move was a shock to some, given that Dugan was the first-ever female CEO of the Grammys, and was ousted less than two weeks before the annual awards ceremony is slated to air. She initially took the position on Aug. 1, succeeding Neil Portnow. While he'd led the Grammys for 17 years, he recently sparked controversy with a comment after the 2018 show that women needed to "step up" to get ahead in the music industry.

"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," a source close to the Recording Academy told Billboard. "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."

Dugan was seen as something of a transformative force for The Grammys, and in the wake of her removal saw Public Enemy's Chuck D rally to her defense in a lengthy Instagram post.


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

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