A fight between executives behind the scenes at the Grammys could be having an effect on the show.
Variety reports Taylor Swift is skipping a performance at the Grammys after Deborah Dugan, CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which hosts the awards show, was placed on administrative leave.
Dugan had made allegations of sexual harassment and other claims about the academy and its executives.
The 62nd Grammy Awards, hosted by Alicia Keys, are set to air Sunday night on CBS. Swift is nominated for song of the year for “Lover,” pop solo performance for “You Need to Calm Down,” and pop vocal album for “Lover.”
Swift, 30, had not been confirmed as a performer at the Grammys, but had reportedly considered taking the stage. Her decision is suspected to have something to do with the backstage conflict, though that has not been confirmed.
Dugan, president and CEO of the academy, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Jan. 20, days after she was placed on administrative leave.
Dugan says she was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 16 as a form of retaliation after she made allegations of sexual harassment against Joel Katz, an attorney who serves as general counsel to the academy and is a former chair of the academy’s board of trustees.
In her complaint, Dugan says Katz made sexual advances towards her at a dinner in May and tried to kiss her even after she turned him down. She says that after that night, Katz continued to act inappropriately towards her, commenting on her physical appearance.
The CEO says she reported the allegations to human resources in December. She also made allegations of conflicts of interest and “voting irregularities” which she said were “made possible by the ‘boy’s club’ mentality and approach to governance” at the academy.
Dugan, former CEO of RED, the AIDS nonprofit co-founded by Bono, had been academy CEO for five months before she was placed on leave.
She was the first woman to lead the academy after Neil Portnow, former CEO of the academy, drew criticism after the 2018 Grammys for saying women in the music industry need to “step up.”
In the EEOC complaint, Dugan says that Portnow had allegedly raped a female recording artist.” That, she said, was “the real reason his contract was not renewed.”
In her complaint, Dugan accused the academy of retaliation for telling the media she was placed on leave because a senior female member of the academy team made an allegation of misconduct against her, which Dugan denies.
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