Dugan
Deborah Dugan. Courtesy Image.

The Recording Academy Fires Deborah Dugan

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Bloomberg is excoriated for secret settlements with women at his firm, but…

The Recording Academy fires a woman and gives her no settlement and…

It’s clear that those attacked by Dugan want to skate. Primarily the attorneys.

Come on, you employed two firms to make independent investigations… If Dugan’s behavior was really that bad, why not release these results, obviously they would support your action.

But probably they wouldn’t.

No one is making the Academy bend to the reports. They can dismiss them entirely. They’re not binding. Hell, it looks like the reports were cover-ups. Now, Joel Katz can keep his job and his reputation and the awards nomination process can continue to be opaque.

Yup, we have not heard anybody at the Academy defend the insane payments to attorneys. Hell, Dugan should be lauded for bringing these expenses to light. Think of all the money the Academy could save with in-house counsel! We hear nothing about the hiring of full-time attorneys because the truth is Joel Katz has his fingers everywhere. It’s a business of loyalty. You got me a good deal, I’m gonna stand up for you. Wasn’t the head of the Academy represented by Katz? Harvey Mason, Jr. looks like Bill Barr as opposed to the whistleblower, stonewalling so Katz and Ortner can get away scot-free.

And the optics are terrible!

Everyone knows you pay and the person signs a confidentiality agreement and you put out a press release with some kumbaya rubbish and all is forgotten.


But NO, the Academy is so stupid that it believes the issue is about Dugan herself, as opposed to its credibility.

Come on, Neil Portnow tells women to step up and now a woman is clandestinely pushed down?

As for standing up for herself… Only men can do this, when women do this it’s out of bounds. As for bullying… Even if she did it, since when do they fire CEOs for this behavior? Hell, that’s easy to paper over, we wouldn’t have even known about it if the Academy wanted to solve the problem. But it didn’t, it just wanted Dugan out, and she says the behavior never even happened. Who you gonna believe, a woman who worked for RED, got along with Bono and the rest of the billionaires, or nincompoops sucking at the tit of the Recording Academy. It’s not like Katz and Ortner would starve if they lost this account. As for the good old boy network wherein the Grammy is passed around and people like Clive Davis can trump the process… That’s why they couldn’t eliminate the endless Grammy categories, because these nobodies in irrelevant categories want to win and put it on their resumes, as if they’re something special, which they are not.

Now what?

It’s not like a Grammy performance means what it used to. Hell, the show was eclipsed in the ratings by the Democratic debate in Vegas.

Careers are built online, not on television.

And the Academy lives on CBS’s largesse, which is not forever. These companies pivot, did you see today that AT&T is now focusing on internet TV, putting a stake in the heart of its satellite business in the wake of so many disconnections?

As for firing Dugan without a settlement…the Academy has just ensured that this fracas, this cloud on the empire, will not disappear. Dugan will sue, more will come out, and then months, even a year later, the Academy will end up paying her anyway, so even more heinous behavior will not be revealed.

It takes decades to get Harvey Weinstein, but the Academy learns no lessons, keeps info private and stonewalls and says it’s innocent. How come there was no publicity around the accusation of rape against Neil Portnow? That’s kept quiet, he’s not even put on leave, but they accuse Deborah Dugan of bullying and she’s got to go? Who cares whether Neil did it or not, this says so much about the Academy processes. In a negative way.


As for trusting the reports…

I’m not trusting a single thing the Academy says. So far, Dugan is winning. She revealed bad behavior and she was fired, just like Vindman. You can’t even speak the truth in the record business, or the big bad man will get you?

Yup, if you’re a woman you’ve got to act like a man, you can’t be yourself. And you have to get at the end of the line and pay your dues, just like the guys in front of you. You can’t be an upstart, you’ve got to keep quiet and play by the rules when the entire game should be blown apart.

Women should boycott the Grammys. Teach this bastion of male supremacy a thing or two. Just like you couldn’t play Sun City, you can’t play the Grammys.

And if the awards ever meant anything, they mean almost nothing now.

So, the Recording Academy said it won the battle, when in truth it lost the war. Everybody in business knows you pay to make the problem go away, unless you can prove truly bad behavior. And so far, the Academy is batting zero on this with Dugan. She wanted change, it was too fast. When she was pushed out she spoke the truth. See how well that plays in the “Wall Street Journal.”

And you wonder why the nation is in turmoil. The billionaires, those already in power, don’t want to sacrifice one iota. They want to continue pulling the strings, and they want you to be afraid of speaking up, never mind running against them.

If the Academy brass had any balls…

Harvey Mason, Jr. and the executive committee should resign.


As should Katz and Ortner.

To give the image of propriety. To try and cleanse the Academy’s image. To give the Academy a chance to rebuild with the imprimatur of honesty. Hell, they should at least appoint an ombudsman.

And what woman in her right mind would now take this job? Who would go into the hornet’s nest where it’s been established you’ve got to play by the boys’ rules and change can’t happen fast, it has to be gradual, and certain things are sacrosanct and can’t be touched, like attorney payments and the Grammy nomination process. Hell, if someone took this job they’d be afraid of being sued for bad behavior, i.e. not doing their job. The Academy head has a responsibility to the members, not the brass. And right now, the members are mighty pissed off.

The music business has been the canary in the coal mine for digital disruption.

And now this same industry didn’t even get the message of the #MeToo movement.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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