Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan Fired by the Recording Academy

Mahlik Campbell

music /
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20: Recording Academy president and CEO Deborah Dugan and Chair speaks onstage at the GRAMMY Nominations Press Conference at CBS Studios on November 20, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, the Executive Committee of the Recording Academy, the controlling organization of the Grammys, informed its members that they had fired president/CEO Deborah Dugan.

Dugan had been on administrative leave since mid-January for allegations of misconduct. She was placed on leave only 10 days before the 62nd annual Grammy awards took place.

She was in the position for less than a year, having started on August 1. Here's a semi-accurate representation of her brief time with the Academy:


Since mid-January, Dugan had been in a tight battle with several of the Grammys' more tenured leaders.

Per Rolling Stoneshe combated her suspension by initiating an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint that claimed the Academy sent millions of dollars to certain law firms without reason, as well as tried to gift her predecessor, Neil Portnow, with a huge, bogus consultancy fee. She also accused Portnow and music attorney Joel Katz of sexual harassment (they both denied the allegations), and said that the voting process for the awards was "rigged."

Ever since Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist beat out Kendrick Lamar's classic debut good kid, m.A.A.d. City for Best Rap Album in 2014, we have to agree with that last part...


One of Dugan's main goals as president and CEO was to foster a culture of greater diversity, a topic that's been top-of-mind for the past several years.

At the 2020 Pre-Grammy Gala, Diddy called out the Recording Academy during his acceptance speech for the Icon Award, saying there's a lack of diversity and that "hip-hop's never been respected by the Grammys."

Tyler, The Creator, who won the 2020 Grammy for Best Rap Album with IGOR, also spoke bluntly about the organization's misunderstanding of underrepresented groups. “On one side, I’m very grateful that what I made could be acknowledged in a world like this, but also, it sucks that whenever we – and I mean guys that look like me – do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything, they always put it in a rap or urban category, which is – I don’t like that ‘urban’ word. That’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” he said.