The institution that runs the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy, has asked that the arbitration hearing with their former CEO Deborah Dugan be closed to the public. While the academy’s current CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. previously stated that “the Recording Academy has absolutely nothing to hide,” they’re only willing to let the results of the arbitration reach the public, not the full proceedings.
The hearing is the result of a complaint that Dugan made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in January 2020, in which she alleged that the Grammys had a corrupt voting process, claimed that the Recording Academy’s general counsel Joel Katz had sexually harassed her and alleged that the academy’s former CEO Neil Portnow had raped a recording artist. Both Katz and Portnow denied the accusations. Dugan was placed on administrative leave one week before the beginning of the 2020 Grammys celebrations and officially fired two months later. She had served as CEO for five months prior to the administrative leave.
Around the time of the leave and subsequent EEOC complaint, Dugan sent an open letter to the Recording Academy, asking that they waive the clause of her employment contract that legally obligated her to settle all disputes with her employer through confidential arbitration. The Recording Academy promptly denied the allegations of Grammy Award nomination voting corruption, although they later admitted to having secretive nomination committees for some categories, which they terminated earlier this year due to backlash. Mason Jr. publicly responded in February with a proposal to waive the confidentiality portion of the clause but keep the arbitration hearing, which is currently scheduled to begin on July 12 in Los Angeles.
In that response, Mason Jr. stated, “The Recording Academy has absolutely nothing to hide and, in fact, welcomes the opportunity to tell its story so that the entire music community and the world can hear the truth – and nothing but the truth—about what you did to this proud institution during your brief tenure as President/CEO…. In short, we welcome a full public airing of your allegations against the Academy as well as the Academy’s many claims and defenses against you.”
Now, it turns out that the Recording Academy has changed their mind. While the new request that the academy’s attorney, Anthony J. Oncidi, made yesterday asked that the results of the arbitration and reasoning behind them be disclosed to the public, they wish for the rest of the details of the arbitration be done behind closed doors.