Grammy nods for both Louis C.K. and Dave Chappelle have sparked controversy since the full list of nominations was revealed yesterday, provoking a response from The Recording Academy’s CEO Harvey Mason Jr.
Louis C.K. is nominated for Best Comedy Album for his latest album, ‘Sorry’ – an award that he won earlier this year, using the platform to address allegations of sexual misconduct made against him in 2017.
Chappelle, meanwhile, is up for the same category for the audio release of ‘The Closer’, which proved controversial for the comedian’s comments on trans issues.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mason said that the organisation doesn’t “control who the voters vote for”, but instead focused on the event itself.
“If the voters feel like a creator deserves a nomination, they’re going to vote for them,” he said. “The thing that we can control is making sure that people that attend our events feel safe. If there’s someone that’s been nominated that we don’t necessarily agree with, we’re not going to remove a nomination.”
The 54-year-old, known for his previous writing and production work for the likes of Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Britney Spears and more, said that ethical concerns about nominated artists didn’t factor into the process.
“We’re never going to be in the business of deciding someone’s moral position or where we evaluate them to be on the scale of morality. I think our job is to evaluate the art and the quality of the art,” Mason added.
“We can make sure that all of our spaces are safe and people don’t feel threatened by anyone. But as far as the nominations or the awards, we really let the voters make that decision.”
Chappelle has been in the news again this week, after his monologue on last weekend’s (November 12) Saturday Night Live was accused of “popularising” anti-Semitism.
The comedian kicking off his hosting stint on the show by joking about Kanye West and Kyrie Irving’s anti-Semitic remarks, saying the former should have apologised to “buy himself some time”.
“I’ve been to Hollywood and this is just what I saw: It’s a lot of Jews, like a lot,” Chappelle went on to say. “But that doesn’t mean anything. There’s a lot of Black people in Ferguson, Missouri, but that doesn’t mean we run the place.
“I can see if you had some kind of issue, you might go out to Hollywood and you might start connecting some lines and you could maybe adopt the delusion that Jews run show business. It’s not a crazy thing to think, but it’s a crazy thing to say out loud in a climate like this.”
His comments attracted criticism on social media, with Time Out New York‘s Adam Feldman tweeting that they “probably did more to normalise anti-Semitism than anything Kanye said.”