Less than 48 hours before the Recording Academy starts handing out 84 Grammy Awards on Sunday, interim CEO and board chair Harvey Mason Jr. sent an email to the organization’s membership on Friday (Jan. 24) clarifying some of its voter regulations.
The Recording Academy’s voting process has come under renewed scrutiny after its CEO/president Deborah Dugan was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 16. Following that move, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Jan. 21 accusing the organization of, among other things, a “corrupt” voting process rife with conflicts of interest and “secret committees.”
Mason addressed many of her allegations and “the misleading reports bringing our voting process into question,” before delivering a bit of a pep talk to those involved in that process, adding, “Don’t let anyone cheapen or take away from what you have achieved.”
He follows that with a breakdown of how the voting process works, including addressing allegations that creatives who are nominated for awards are able to serve on committees that determine the final nominees.
The Grammys air on CBS at 8 p.m. EST Sunday night. The pre-telecast, where the majority of awards are handed out, begins at 3 p.m. EST.
Mason’s letter in full is below.
“I’m sure you’ve all seen the misleading reports bringing our voting process into question. The accusations are deeply unsettling and are just not right. It’s not fair to all the amazing artists who have won GRAMMY awards in the past and the ones who will win them on Sunday. It’s also not fair to the artists and other people in our music community who volunteer countless hours on committees reviewing nominations. Don’t let anyone cheapen or take away from what you have achieved—and what you give to the industry in your service. Here are some actual facts about the process in case you are asked about it in the days ahead:
– The rules for nominations and awards were not created by music industry executives. There were created by you—the music makers.
– We have always been transparent about the process—it is posted on our website for anyone to see and review.
– The leadership of the Recording Academy is diverse. It’s officers are 50% female, the Executive Committee is 50% female, and the Board is 36% female.
– The Nomination Review Committees are made up of a diverse group of current and relevant music creators with a high level of expertise in their respective genres.
– As you know, there are strict rules in place to address any conflict of interest and no exceptions.
– Should a committee member qualify for a GRAMMY, they are required to leave the room and are NOT allowed to be present for listening sessions, subsequent conversation or the vote to determine the nominees.
– Committee members do not know the ranking of any entry and the voting is by secret ballot.
– The committees are not confidential, but the committee members’ names are for the obvious reason of preventing lobbying from outside parties, therefore further protecting the integrity of the voting process.
Thank you for your continued support and service to our music community, and for helping people understand this process. We look forward to seeing you this weekend and celebrating our deserving winners on Music’s Biggest Night.”