Followers of the Grammy Awards know they have recently come upon hard times in recent years, including the Kevin Hart controversy that kicked off in 2018, in addition to the exit of three different CEOs across just six months.
After the February 18th Grammy Award ceremony in 2018, the former president of the academy, Neil Portnow, upon being asked why there weren’t many female artists up for awards, said to reporters that it was time for “women to step up.”
Portnow’s comments subsequently went viral, with many female artists taking to Twitter afterward to criticize his choice of words, including Pink, among many others, who asked for the president to step down. In the ensuing controversy, he claimed his remarks were taken out of context and stated that he never meant to place blame on women.
In the aftermath, a blue-ribbon task force was created with the intention of increasing the representation of women and the LGBTQ community in the academy. This led to the hiring of Deborah Dugan, who was given the same job on the 1st of August, just one day after Portnow’s contract finished.
Initially, Dugan was welcomed as a symbol of the supposed change that was on the horizon, however, this past Thursday, just ten days before the 2020 Grammy Awards were scheduled to begin, Dugan stepped down from her position.
Reportedly, another executive in the Academy accused Dugan of misconduct and she subsequently had to step down from her position. Thus far, it’s not clear what Dungan actually said or did which led to the problem.
On Friday, musicians and other industry insiders expressed disappointment as well as shock that Dugan had to leave. A source who spoke with the academy’s leadership said to the Los Angeles Times that Dugan didn’t have the “qualities or experience” to help run the Academy.
Dugan purportedly felt it was necessary to try and re-structure the entire organization. The insider added, “she got the message,” and that’s what she was there for, but she never learned how to make things work in the organization.
Regardless of who is at the helm of the academy, this year, it’s still expected to kick off in the same way. Alicia Keys is coming back to the hosting position, and other stars this year to take the center stage include Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, and Lizzo.