Only days after being ousted as president and CEO of the Recording Academy amid an investigation into misconduct allegations, Deborah Dugan is firing back. Dugan filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discrimination complaint with the Los Angeles District Office Tuesday against the organization behind the Grammys, according to Pitchfork. The complaint claims numerous instances of alleged corruption and sexual harassment within the organization.
According to the complaint, Dugan informed HR in December that she was allegedly sexually harassed by the Academy’s legal counsel and former board member Joel Katz. She also alleges that she was put on leave after she allegedly threatened to take legal action over that misconduct. Dugan also alleged that she was informed former Grammys CEO Neil Portnow was facing a rape allegation from an unnamed recording artist and member of the Recording Academy.
In a statement from Dugan’s lawyers, Douglas H. Wigdor and Michael J. Willemin, the charge of alleged discrimination “highlights tactics reminiscent of those deployed by individuals defending Harvey Weinstein. As we allege, the attempt by the Recording Academy to impugn the characters of Deborah Dugan is a transparent effort to shift the focus away from its own unlawful activity.”
In addition to defamation allegations, the complaint includes detailed statements on the organization’s alleged “boys’ club” mentality and its alleged longstanding inadequacies in addressing systemic diversity issues.
As reported by Pitchfork, the Recording Academy responded to Dugan’s claims in a statement:
“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’. When Ms. Dugan did raise her “concerns” to HR, she specifically instructed HR “not to take any action” in response.
Nonetheless, we immediately launched independent investigations to review both Ms. Dugan’s potential misconduct and her subsequent allegations. Both of these investigations remain ongoing. Ms. Dugan was placed on administrative leave only after offering to step down and demanding $22 million from the Academy, which is a not-for-profit organization. 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.”