Dugan’s legal team released a statement via Twitter:
“The complaint that we filed today against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammys) highlights tactics reminiscent of those deployed by individuals defending Harvey Weinstein,” attorneys Michael J. Willemin and Douglas H. Wigdor wrote in a statement.
They continued, “As we allege, 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.”
According to The Chicago Tribune, Dugan claims that she was sexually harassed by the Academy’s attorney, Joel Katz. She claims that Katz tried to kiss her during a dinner and repeatedly called her “baby.”
Dugan also listed Neil Portnow, the former Academy CEO, in the complaint. Portnow “allegedly raped a female recording artist, which was, upon information and belief, the real reason his contract was not renewed.” She also claims that she is being paid much less than Portnow and other CEOs that came before him.
Dugan reported the complaint to the Academy’s managing director in December citing the alleged harassment as well as “egregious conflicts of interest, improper self-dealing by Board members and voting irregularities with respect to nominations for Grammy Awards, all made possible by the ‘boys’ club’ mentality and approach to governance at the Academy.”
A few days ago, Dugan was placed on administrative leave. Her lawyers believe her complaint prompted that move. A source told the New York Times that she was removed from her position because she had a “bullying management style.”
The Academy released a statement saying that Dugan was placed on administrative leave “in light of concerns raised to the board of trustees, including a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team,” a claim that Dugan denies.
The 62nd Grammy Awards will broadcast live from the Staples Center this Sunday (Jan. 26).