Musician Files Assault Allegation Lawsuit Against Ex-Grammy Head

( – In May 2018, The New York Times reported that the head of the organization behind the Grammy Awards, Neil Portnow, was stepping down from his position the following year at the end of his contract. He had taken over for Michael Greene, who was chased out of his position after a series of harassment allegations surfaced.

Portnow was also caught in controversy, but his misstep seemed mild compared to his predecessor. He remarked after the 60th annual Grammy ceremony that women in the industry needed to “step up” to make it in the profession. The uproar led to his resignation. Now, it seems there was more to the story of Portnow and his position within the organization.

What Happened?

On November 8, an unnamed woman sued the former Recording Academy executive for allegedly drugging and raping her back in 2018. The complainant, who filed the case with the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan not only accused Portnow of wrongdoing, but accused the Recording Academy, the entity behind the Grammys, of negligence for an alleged coverup.

According to the NYT, the person who took Portnow’s position in 2019 — Deborah Dugan — didn’t stay in the role for long. Dugan reportedly claimed the organization covered up the misconduct against a “foreign recording artist” revealed when she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2020. She was swiftly fired from her position, and Portnow vehemently denied the allegations, calling them “false” and “outrageous.”

Now that artist brought her own complaint and is taking the former executive to court. She reportedly included a detailed account of what allegedly happened between her and Mr. Portman in 2018. The plaintiff’s lawyer in the recent New York case, Jeffrey Anderson, said the current case is about something bigger than Portnow or even the Recording Academy itself. The attorney said it was about the “doublespeak” in the music and entertainment industry regarding “rape and abuse,” a significant issue many have faced.

Responses to the Suit

The New York Times reported that Mr. Portnow’s representative released a statement about the recent filing, denying the allegations once again. The rep said the accusations were made up and “motivated” by the former executive’s “refusal” to give the plaintiff money and help “obtaining a residence visa.”

The Recording Academy also released a statement seemingly backing Portnow’s denial. The organization said it believes the claims are false and the academy will “vigorously defend” itself.

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