Tiffany Haddish says she turned down an offer to host the 2021 Grammys Premiere Ceremony, sharing that the Recording Academy expected her to take on the role without compensation, according to an interview with Variety.
The comedy star also said that her hair, makeup and wardrobe would not be covered either. “All of that would have to come out of my pocket,” she said. “I don’t know if this might mean I might not get nominated ever again, but I think it’s disrespectful.
“I was like, ‘The exposure is amazing but I think I have enough. I appreciate you guys asking,’” she continued. “And as much as I appreciate the honor of being nominated, that’s not OK.”
The Grammys Premiere Ceremony is a nearly three-hour event that takes place before the prime-time Grammys each year and is where the bulk of the night’s 83 awards are handed out.
Haddish is up for best comedy album for Netflix’s Black Mitzvah at the Jan. 31 ceremony. In 2019, her audiobook The Last Black Unicorn was nominated for best spoken word album.
In the early morning hours of Dec. 10, Harvey Mason Jr., the interim president and CEO of the Recording Academy, shared a video message regarding the situation on Instagram. “Unfortunately and without me knowing, the talent booker working for the Academy told Ms. Haddish that we wouldn’t even cover her costs while she hosted this event for us,” he explained. “To me, that was wrong. I’m frustrated by that decision. It was a lapse in judgment, it was in poor taste, and it was disrespectful to the creative community. I’m part of that creative community, I know what that feels like, and it’s not right.”
“Thankfully, Ms. Haddish was gracious enough to allow me to have a conversation with her. I apologized to her personally; I apologized to her from the Academy,” Mason Jr. continued. “I expressed to her my regret and my displeasure about how this went down, how it was handled. Again, I want to say, Tiffany, we are sorry, and thank you for allowing me to speak on it.”
An Academy rep told Variety that hosts, presenters and performers are not traditionally compensated for their participation in the Grammys Premiere Ceremony, noting that it is a production of the not-for-profit Recording Academy, not a CBS program like the prime-time awards ceremony.