Deborah Dugan has added experienced New York employment litigator Douglas Wigdor to her legal team, Billboard has confirmed. Wigdor declined to elaborate on any litigation plans.
Wigdor is currently representing a Jane Doe who will testify in the criminal trial against Harvey Weinstein. According to Wigdor, his client will testify that she was raped by Weinstein in 2005.
Dugan was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 16, 10 days before the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, after the Recording Academy’s board of trustees said “serious concerns” over her behavior were brought to their attention.
Dugan took over as Recording Academy president and CEO on Aug. 1. Board chair Harvey Mason Jr. will serve as interim president and CEO during a current independent investigation of the allegations.
On Dugan’s legal team, Wigdor joins co-counsel Bryan Freedman of Freedman & Taitelman, a seasoned litigator known for his crisis work. “What has been reported is not nearly the story that needs to be told,” said Freedman, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Jan. 17. “When our ability to speak is not restrained by a 28-page contract and legal threats, we will expose what happens when you ‘step up’ at the Recording Academy, a public nonprofit.”
Freedman has extensive experience representing high-profile women. He negotiated Megyn Kelly‘s exit from NBC Today show when she was taken off the air after making insensitive comments about blackface a year into her three-year $69 million dollar contract. Freedman is also currently representing Gabrielle Union who was let go from America’s Got Talent after she says she spoke up about problematic behavior on set. Both Kelly and Union have expressed their support for Dugan via social media.
On Jan. 18 Union tweeted, “Coulda sworn this is the same board that told women to ‘step up’ Clearly what they really meant was stand down, turn a blind eye to problems, or be fired. #DeborahDugan truly stepped up & tried to make necessary changes & was shown the door. Been there, done that, got fired too.”
Coulda sworn this is the same board that told women to “step up” Clearly what they really meant was stand down, turn a blind eye to problems, or be fired. #DeborahDugan truly stepped up & tried to make necessary changes & was shown the door. Been there, done that, got fired too. https://t.co/xwm3qUln3x
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) January 18, 2020
Kelly also voiced support 20 minutes later, posting, “So Deborah Dugan files an HR complaint vs Grammys org – where she was CEO – and suddenly gets fired for “bullying?” Now she can’t speak bc a PUBLIC NON-PROFIT is muzzling her? Ummm – no.”
So Deborah Dugan files an HR complaint vs Grammys org – where she was CEO – and suddenly gets fired for “bullying?” Now she can’t speak bc a PUBLIC NON-PROFIT is muzzling her? Ummm – no. #deborahdugan #thisisehathappenswhenwomenstepup #grammysstepup
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) January 18, 2020
Freedman is also part of a team of attorneys representing the Michael Jackson estate in its $100 million dollar lawsuit against HBO over the documentary Leaving Neverland.
On Saturday, following Dugan’s ouster, Freedman told the media his client has retained 24-hour security based on “credible and extremely disturbing information.” In addition, Grammy Awards sponsor Champagne Billecart-Salmon has pulled out of the Jan. 26 show in solidarity with Dugan, who was placed on administrative leave amid a claim of misconduct.