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Recording Academy Reaches Settlement With Former CEO Deborah Dugan

The Recording Academy have reached a settlement with its former CEO Deborah Dugan prior to her arbitration hearings against the Grammys organization, ending an 18-month legal battle between the two sides that stemmed from her abrupt dismissal just days before the 2020 Grammys.

“The Recording Academy and Deborah Dugan have agreed to resolve their differences and to keep the terms of their agreement private,” the two sides said in a joint statement.

Dugan first sued the Recording Academy in January 2020 after being put on administrative leave following “a formal allegation of misconduct by a senior female member.” In her lawsuit, Dugan made several stunning claims related to the Recording Academy that she said led to her ouster, including claims that she was sexually harassed by counsel for the Recording Academy and that outgoing CEO Neil Portnow had been accused of sexually assaulting a “foreign recording artist.” Dugan’s lawsuit also outlined alleged corruption in Grammys voting, exorbitant spending by the Recording Academy and frequent conflict of interest.

The Recording Academy denied Dugan’s allegations, and officially cut ties with their ex-CEO in March 2020 after voting to terminate her employment. Still, the organization made changes to its voting process to allow for more transparency.

While Dugan lobbied for an open arbitration hearing in regards to the lawsuit — something the Recording Academy initially agreed to and endorsed — the New York Times reported recently that the organization was instead taking measures to keep the arbitration private. With the July 12th arbitration date approaching, both sides reached an agreement to avoid any further exposure of the Recording Academy’s practices.

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