Deborah Dugan, the ousted president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against her former employer on Tuesday. In the complaint, Dugan alleges she told HR in December that she was being sexually harassed by music lawyer Joel Katz (who is also the Academy's general counsel). She also allegedly reported to HR that she was asked to hire former CEO Neil Portnow as a consultant, even after he “allegedly raped a female recording artist” and made previous “misogynistic remarks” that led to him initially leaving the company. The EEOC complaint against the Recording Academy also includes claims of unlawful gender discrimination, unlawful retaliation, and unequal pay.
The filing comes after Dugan was placed on administrative leave Thursday amid allegations of workplace bullying—ten days before her first Grammy Awards ceremony. In a Monday letter, the Academy’s interim CEO and President, Harvey Mason Jr., issued a statement to the Academy’s membership about Dugan’s alleged misconduct and warned about “leaks and misinformation.” In a statement to The Daily Beast, Douglas Wigdor, an attorney representing Dugan, equated the Academy's actions to tactics “deployed by individuals defending Harvey Weinstein” and said Monday's letter was an effort to shift focus away from its own “unlawful activity.” “As we allege, the attempt by the Recording Academy to impugn the character of Deborah Dugan is a transparent effort to shift the focus away from its own unlawful activity,” Wigdor said. “This blatant form of retaliation in corporate America is all too common, even post #MeToo, and we will utilize all lawful means necessary to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.”