Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan Placed On "Administrative Leave"

Lawrence Kim
January 18, 2020

A day before she was placed on leave, Dugan was profiled in The Los Angeles Times.

Less than 12 hours after news broke that Deborah Dugan had been placed on administrative leave from her post as president/CEO of the Recording Academy, her attorney fired back with a statement.

"Is the Recording Academy trying to shut up people who want to speak about their experience with the truth of sexual harassment, financial impropriety and [improper] insider benefits?" said an insider, referring to the misconduct that Dugan had planned to expose.

Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan, who the company announced Thursday was placed on administrative leave, has fired back in a statement through her lawyer, saying: "What has been reported is not almost the story that needs to be told".

"The board has also retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations", the statement said.

"The Board determined this action to be necessary in order to restore the confidence of the Recording Academy's membership, fix Recording Academy employee morale, and allow the Recording Academy to focus on its mission of serving all music creators", the statement continued.

While saying that the January 26 awards show in Los Angeles will go ahead as planned, the Recording Academy on Thursday announced that CEO Deborah Dugan has been placed on immediate administrative leave.

But in a statement released Friday to The Associated Press, Dugan's attorney Bryan Freedman said there's more to the story.

Her appointment, announced in May, was considered a concrete step toward addressing longstanding issues of gender bias in the music industry in general, and in particular at the Recording Academy.

Prior to joining The Recording Academy, Dugan served as CEO of (RED), the AIDS nonprofit co-founded in 2006 by U2 singer Bono and activist Bobby Shriver.

But a source close to Dugan tells us that is iffy, and they suspect that she got the boot after sending a memo to the academy's HR department three weeks ago, in which she said that "something was seriously amiss at the Academy".

Portnow had received backlash for saying female artists need to "step up" following a controversial male-dominated Grammy Awards in 2018.

She was the Academy's first female president and, in an interview published this week, called her role "the best job on the planet". Harvey Mason Jr, chairman of the board of trustees, will act as interim president and CEO.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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