The turmoil surrounding the Recording Academy continued ahead of Sunday’s 62nd annual Grammy Awards, with former Grammys CEO Neil Portnow lashing out Wednesday after being accused of rape.
The AP reports that Portnow called the allegation, which surfaced in a complaint filed by his successor, “false and outrageous.”
“Portnow released a statement saying that the academy conducted a thorough and independent investigation of the accusation and he was ‘completely exonerated,'” the AP reports, adding: “His comment came a day after ousted academy CEO Deborah Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission asserting that she had been subjected to retaliation for reporting sexual harassment by an academy attorney and for calling out the ‘boys club’ culture that pervades the institution.”
The battle behind the scenes has put a damper on the celebration that usually marks the runup to the Grammys, which will take place Sunday in Los Angeles.
“Dugan said she learned during her six-month stint as CEO that Portnow had been accused of rape by a foreign recording artist and academy member after a performance at Carnegie Hall,” the AP reports, noting that the artist was not named.
Commenting on Dugan’s complaint in his statement, Portnow said: “This document is filled with inaccurate, false and outrageous and terribly hurtful claims against me. There was no basis for the allegations, and once again I deny them unequivocally.”
The AP adds: “Portnow, a 72-year-old former record label executive, did not seek an extension of his contract and left the CEO post last year after 17 years. He came under fire for saying women need to ‘step up’ when asked backstage at the 2018 Grammy Awards why only two female acts won awards during the live telecast. Portnow again apologized for the comment on Wednesday.”