Grammys boss Deborah Dugan reportedly raised serious ethical concerns about the Academy before her shock dismissal

Dugan reportedly sent a memo detailing voting irregularities, financial mismanagement and more

Grammys boss Deborah Dugan has been placed on leave only 10 days before the prestigious ceremony, after facing an allegation of misconduct.

In a statement, the Recording Academy confirmed Dugan was placed on leave “in light of concerns raised to the Recording Academy Board of Trustees, including a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member of the Recording Academy team.”

The story continues to develop, with the New York Times now reporting that Dugan sent a memo just three weeks before her dismissal, detailing her concerns over serious issues such as voting irregularities, financial mismanagement, “exorbitant and unnecessary” legal bills, and conflicts of interest from voters.


Deborah Dugan
Deborah Dugan CREDIT: Getty

“What has been reported is not nearly the story that needs to be told,” Dugan’s lawyer Bryan Freedman told the Times. “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.”

It comes less than a year since she took over as the first female president of the Recording Academy – which oversees the Grammy Awards – in August 2019.

“The Board has also retained two independent third-party investigators to conduct independent investigations of the allegations. The Board determined this action to be necessary in order to restore the confidence of the Recording Academy’s membership, repair Recording Academy employee morale, and allow the Recording Academy to focus on its mission of serving all music creators,” a statement given to The Los Angeles Times confirmed.

“Board Chair Harvey Mason Jr. will serve as interim president and CEO pending the conclusion of the investigation. The Recording Academy Board of Trustees is committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace, music industry and society.”

Dugan had replaced long-standing Recording Academy Chief Executive Neil Portnow, who faced major backlash in 2018 when he suggested that female artists should “step up” if they wanted to achieve access.


While the full details of the misconduct allegation are yet to emerge, a source told The LA Times that Dugan “didn’t fit in, from the get-go.”

Before becoming president of the Recording Academy, Dugan had been the chief executive at (Red), the AIDS nonprofit founded in 2006 by U2 singer Bono.

The Grammys will take place on January 27, with nominations led by the likes of Shawn Mendes and Ariana Grande. Confirmed performers include the likes of Lizzo and Demi Lovato.