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Deborah Dugan’s Former Assistant Accuses Embattled Grammy Chief of Playing Gender Card

Embattled Grammy CEO Deborah Dugan’s former assistant Claudine Little says she is disappointed by the false narrative Dugan has been spinning in the media. Little said the aggressive approach by Dugan is actually proof of her “abusive and bullying conduct" and believes that Dugan is hoping to “leverage public opinion along gender lines." 

Little — who had worked as the assistant to the previous CEO Neil Portnow and held the title of director of administration — stayed in the position when Dugan took the reigns at the Academy in August. In Dugan's complaint filed Tuesday, she said she soon realized that Little was not up to the task, accusing her of not consistently forwarding her messages and not knowing how to manage her Outlook calendar. She also says that she received complaints about Little’s conduct from Barbra Streisand’s manager and the head of Universal Music Publishing Group (who she did not identify by name). At the end of October, Little went on a leave of absence and did not return to her position. Dugan says she was subsequently interrogated by HR about the “Little situation.” 

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However, Little said Dugan’s chain of events in her complaint “spread a false narrative about the Academy” that she calls “regrettable.”

“It is also emblematic of Ms. Dugan’s abusive and bullying conduct while she served as the Academy’s President and CEO,” Little continues. 

Little says she is proud of her career with the Academy, where she worked her way up from secretary to director of administration in the executive suite, based on her merit and “while working for and with leaders far more demanding and hard-charging than Ms. Dugan.” Little calls Dugan’s blaming a “boy’s club” for her dispute with the Academy disheartening. 

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“It is disappointing that Ms. Dugan hopes to leverage public opinion along gender lines and expects not to be scrutinized for her inexcusable behavior simply because she is a woman; she should be held to the same standard,” says Little.