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Former Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan is accusing the Recording Academy of gender discrimination and sexual harassment, days before the 62nd annual Grammy Awards.
The 46-page complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Tuesday (Jan. 21), claims that the Recording Academy abides by a “boy’s club mentality” and manipulates the Grammys voting process, among other allegations.
In the documents, Dugan accuses the Recording Academy of attempting to smear her reputation for speaking out against the alleged harassment, gender discrimination, unequal pay, and unlawful retaliation, that she claims to have endured. Dugan, who was recently ousted from her position, also accuses music lawyer Joel Katz of sexual harassment.
Katz “categorically” denied Dugan’s allegations in a statement through his attorney.
Dugan, the Recording Academy’s first female CEO, says she took over after former CEO Neil Portnow resigned “in disgrace after being caught making misogynistic remarks about women recording artists.” Dungan claims that her salary was significantly lower than her two male predecessors, and that she was later told to hire Portnow as a consultant for a $750,000 fee. The documents goes on to claim Portnow's consultant contract was severed because he was accused of raping a female recording artist.
Portnow denied the rape claim which he called, “ludicrous and untrue.”
Dugan filed a HR complaint in December of 2019. She was put on administrative leave three weeks later. However, the Recording Academy claims Dugan was placed on leave over a bullying complaint from Portnow’s executive assistant. Dugan alleges that the Recording Academy attempted to work out a settlement with her before backing out at the last minute and giving her one hour to agree to a new deal. She later informed the company of her intent to sue.
Dugan's complaint outlines how women and minority groups have been “historically underrepresented” at the Grammys and within the Academy. For example, the docs note that only 10 black artists have won the coveted Album of the Year honor and that R&B artist are typically excluded from top awards in favor of country, rock and pop music. The docs point out some of the criticisms the the Grammys has received, including failing to honor black artists and a lack of diversity among winners. Eminem for instances, won Best Rap Album seven times despite the category being dominated by black artists. Also mentioned in the documents are Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who beat out Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Kanye West for Best Rap Album in 2014. Dugan used Drake and pop star Dua Lipa to support her claim that the show cuts acceptance speeches short if the artist criticizes the Academy.
Further in the docs, Dugan exposes the Grammys nominations process as allegedly being “ripe with corruption.” Submissions are voted on by 12,000 Recording Academy members all around the country. The selections are narrowed down to the Top 20 entries, which are then reviewed by “secret committees.” Dugan asserts that board members on the committees have relationships with recording artists, thus furthering an artist's chance of getting nominated.
“The Board also manipulates the nominations process to ensure that certain songs or albums are nominated when the producer of the Grammys (Ken Ehrlich) wants a particular song performed during the show,” the documents claim.
Click here to read Dungan's full complaint.
The Emmy-nominated Red Table Talk, hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, has inked a three-year deal with Facebook Watch that extends through 2022.
In addition to a new contract, Westbrook Studios (owned by Pinkett Smith and Will Smith) is expanding the Red Table Talk brand with a spinoff series starring Gloria Estefan.
Red Table Talk: The Estefans, will be produced by Pinkett-Smith, Westbrook Studios and Estefan, with Ellen Rakieten and Miguel Melendez serving as executive producers. The series features the music icon along with her daughter and rising musician, Emily Estefan, and her niece Emmy winner, Lili Estefan. The new show will be based in Miami, where Estefan lives, and will showcase three generations of women having candid conversations about timely topics, social and personal issues with family, in addition to celebrity guests and experts.
“I’m incredibly proud of ‘Red Table Talk,’ and thrilled to build upon this franchise with my family and with Gloria, Emily and Lili,” Pinkett Smith said in a statement. “‘Red Table Talk’ has created a space to have open, honest and healing conversations around social and topical issues, and what’s most powerful for me is hearing people’s stories and engaging with our fans in such a tangible way on the Facebook Watch platform. I’m excited to see the Estefans put their spin on the franchise and take it to new places.”
Estefan added that she’s “incredibly excited” to carry on the “'Red Table Talk' torch” with her family.
“Jada and I have spoken about this a lot and feel my daughter, niece and I can tackle issues important to us and our fans with a new and fresh voice,” said Estefan. “Jada has done this incredibly and continues to do with her family in their candid, intimate, and groundbreaking conversations at the iconic Red Table.”
Broccoli City Fest is returning with a packed lineup. Da Baby, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Rich and more, are billed to hit the stage as headliners of the annual DMV music festival.
Additional performers include, hometown artist, Ari Lennox, as well as Burna Boy, Doja Cat, Selection, IDK, Lucky Daye, and surprise performances, according to the lineup announced on Wednesday (Jan. 22).
BC Fest 2020 promises to be the “best one yet,” per a statement on the festival website. Besides music, the festival will feature a carnival, an interactive art space where patrons can take selfies, pop-up venders, VIP lounges, a curated cannabis experience (for the 21+ an older), a DJ tent and “more food and beverage options.”
Although pre-sale tickets sold out within hours of the lineup announcement. early bird passes were still available at press time.
Broccoli City Fest 2020 takes place in Washington D.C. on May 9. Check out the full lineup below.
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