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Former Grammy Chief Neil Portnow Accused of Raping Female Artist

The two former Recording Academy President and CEOs, Deborah Dugan and Neil Portnow | Image: Getty Images/Pitchfork

Neil Portnow, the former CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences that oversees the Grammy Awards, on Tuesday was accused of raping an unnamed female artist.

Recently ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan on Tuesday filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that Portnow “allegedly raped a female recording artist, which was, upon information and belief, the real reason his contract was not renewed.”

The complaint claims the Academy board was aware of the incident.

Deborah Dugan alleges she was forced out of the CEO job last week after lodging a complaint in December about sexual harassment, voting irregularities with the Grammy Awards, self-dealing and conflicts of interest.

The filing by Dugan said in part,

“In short, Ms. Dugan was accused of acting in a hostile manner towards an Executive Assistant. Again, the Board was ready to hire Mr. Portnow as a consultant and pay him $750,000, even after he was accused of rape, made misogynistic comments and resigned in disgrace.”

Dugan became the Academy’s first female chief executive in May replacing Portnow, whose 17-year tenure ended soon after he suggested following the 2018 Grammys that female artists should “step up” in response to a lack of awards representation.

The Recording Academy responded to Dugan’s filing in a statement tonight, asserting that she “never raised these grave allegations” until after she faced accusations of bullying from a female employee. They also claimed that Dugan “demanded” $22 million to step down from her position.

“Our loyalty will always be to the 21,000 members of the recording industry,” the Academy wrote.

“We regret that Music’s Biggest Night is being stolen from them by Ms. Dugan’s actions and we are working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.”

The shocking allegation by Dugan comes five days before the 62nd edition of the Grammy Awards which is scheduled to take place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday 26 January.

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