Female Board Members Defend Recording Academy Against 'Firestorm' of Allegations

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Courtesy of The Recording Academy


The women dispute ousted chief Debora Dugan's allegations that the organization is a "boys club."

The four women on the eight-member executive committee for The Recording Academy’s board of directors released a statement Wednesday (Jan. 22) afternoon defending the organization.

The statement, which went to the Recording Academy’s membership, is in response to allegations lobbed at the nonprofit by Recording Academy CEO/president Deborah Dugan in a blockbuster Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed Tuesday. 

The Recording Academy’s board of trustees placed Dugan -- who assumed her post on Aug. 1 -- on administrative leave Jan. 16 following accusations of alleged misconduct by a female staffer. 

“It is deeply disturbing to us -- and quite frankly, heartbreaking - to witness the firestorm against our organization that has been unleashed,” the women write. 

The letter does not mention Dugan by name, but refutes allegations she made in her complaint that the Recording Academy is a “boys club” and stresses the commitment to suggestions made by the Diversity and Inclusion task force, led by Tina Tchen. The task force was established in May 2018, after the Recording Academy came under fire for lack of inclusion. 

Dugan also alleged multiple improprieties against the organization including financial mismangement, Grammy voting irregularities, conflicts of interest among board members and paying exorbitant legal fees.

Below is the letter in full: 

As women, voting members, creative artists and entrepreneurs who serve on the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy, we are deeply committed to this organization and its affiliates and the good work that is done beyond the Grammy Awards – advocating for artists’ rights, providing critical assistance for music people in times of need and educating, mentoring and inspiring the next generation of music makers.

Along with our male colleagues, we have made great strides in increasing our diversity throughout the organization, both in leadership at the national level, within our twelve chapters around the country, and in the nominations. Diversity has always been a priority – although admittedly, not always easy to accomplish. The partnership with the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, led by Tina Tchen and established in May 2018, amplified those efforts, created a clear path to follow and opened the door to building even more bridges to the music community at large. We pledge to continue those efforts.

It is deeply disturbing to us – and quite frankly, heartbreaking - to witness the firestorm against our organization that has been unleashed. The Academy is keenly sensitive to any and all allegations of harassment or abuse, and we support the independent investigations that have been launched. Thank you for your patience as these continue.

We have collectively volunteered many years of service guiding and supporting this organization. We would not have taken precious time away from our families and careers if we felt that it was a “boys’ club.” We are leaders of this organization and fully committed to transformational change both within the Academy and within our industry at large.  

We stand ready to address all concerns, allegations and accusations with facts in hand. In the meantime we continue to pursue our mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture.

Tammy Hurt, Vice-Chair

Christine Albert, Chair Emeritus

Leslie Ann Jones, Trustee, Executive Committee Member

Terry Jones, Trustee, Executive Committee Member


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