Ousted Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan Claims the Awards Are Rigged

Ousted Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan Claims the Awards Are Rigged
Deborah Dugan — the recently dismissed chief executive of the Recording Academy — has come forward with claims the Grammy Awards voting process is riddled with conflicts of interest, as well as some blatant vote-rigging.

The ousted head appeared alongside her lawyer Douglas Wigdor on Good Morning America this morning to announce her plan to come public with evidence of the corrupt Grammys voting process. 

Dugan had previously said the Academy process was "ripe with corruption."

She claimed some Academy committee members represent or have relationships with nominated artists, whom they've pushed to be included on the nomination ballot against any measured merit.

She cited the 2019 Song of the Year award as evidence, claiming an unnamed artist who initially ranked 18 out of 20 on the long list was pushed into the final eight nominees. She also claimed the same artist was allowed to sit in on the nomination committee. However, Dugan has not released the name of the artist over concerns for their privacy.

"Are you saying when we're all watching the Grammys this Sunday, we should be thinking, 'The fix is in? This is rigged," host George Stephanopoulos asked Dugan in the interview.

"I'm saying that the system should be transparent and there are incidents of conflicts of interest that taint the results," Dugan told the network. "I couldn't say more positive things about all of the nominations and everybody that performs. I hate that I'm in this situation because I'd much rather be talking about the artists and their music."

Further, Dugan said she has submitted a claim with evidence that proves her allegations to be true.

As previously reported, Dugan — the first female chief executive of the Recording Academy — was dismissed just 10 days before the Grammys were scheduled to take place.

At the time, Dugan's representative told the New York Times that once their "ability to speak is not restrained by a 28-page contract and legal threats" they would "expose what happens when you 'step up' at the Recording Academy, a public nonprofit."

Her dismissal came shortly after she sent a memo to human resources about internal organization, citing voting irregularities, financial mismanagement, exorbitant legal bills, and conflicts of interest within the board and executive committee, as well as sexual harassment claims.

Dugan filed her lawsuit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences on Tuesday (January 21), due to her being wrongfully fired after raising those allegations of sexual harassment and irregularities with Grammy nominations.

In response, the Recording Academy said in a statement to CNN earlier this week that it's "curious" that Dugan didn't raise the allegations until legal claims were made against her by another employee who alleged she "created a 'toxic and intolerable' work environment and engaged in 'abusive and bullying conduct.'"

The statement continued: "Ms. Dugan was placed on administrative leave only after offering to step down and demanding $22 million from the Academy, which is a not-for-profit organization."

Dugan replaced Neil Portnow after he had been publicly pressured to step down for telling female artists they need to "step up" back in 2018 in order to earn acclaim at the Grammys.

Dugan's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint also included allegations of rape against Portnow — claims he soon called "ludicrous" and "untrue."

In a statement this week, Portnow wrote, "This [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] document is filled with inaccurate, false and outrageous and terribly hurtful claims against me."

The Grammys are scheduled to air on Sunday (January 26).  

Watch the Good Morning America interview below.