Ahead of an arbitration hearing with former CEO Deborah Dugan set to begin July 12 in Los Angeles, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has requested that the proceedings be closed to the public, reports The New York Times. In January 2020, Dugan asked the Recording Academy – the organization that produces the Grammys – in an open letter to waive the arbitration clause in his employment contract, which legally obliges him to settle any dispute with his employer via a confidential arbitration. Dugan’s request was quickly countered by a February proposal to simply waive the clause’s confidentiality clause, in the service of transparency. In his response to Dugan’s open letter, then CEO Harvey Mason jr. said at the time:
“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 are doing. have done to this proud institution during your brief tenure as President / CEO… In short, we welcome a full public release of your allegations against the Academy as well as the Academy’s many claims and defenses against you .
But in correspondence with arbitrator Sara Adler and Dugan’s attorneys obtained by The Times, Academy attorney Anthony J. Oncidi said they were now only prepared to release the results of arbitration – and the reasoning behind it – but nothing more. Pitchfork has contacted the Recording Academy for comment; a representative for Dugan declined to comment on the case.
The hearing itself stems from a complaint Dugan filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in January 2020, after being put on administrative leave a week before the 2020 Grammys and five months after having replaced former Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow. In the EEOC complaint, she detailed an allegedly corrupt voting process for the Grammys and accused Recording Academy general counsel Joel Katz of sexually harassing her and Portnow of raping an artist in ‘recording. Katz denied the harassment allegations through her lawyer, and Portnow called the rape charge “ridiculous” and “bogus.” Dugan was officially fired in March 2020. Last year, the Academy denied Dugan’s claims that nominating committee members passed nominations for artists they had a relationship with, and in April, they announced they would end nominating committees for most major awards.
Read “The Explosive 2020 Grammys CEO Scandal Explained” from the field.