Deborah Dugan on Good Morning America
Deborah Dugan on Good Morning America

Ex Grammys boss says awards are ‘rigged’

Deborah Dugan, the ousted Grammys CEO who was placed on administrative leave last week, has dropped bombshell allegations about music's biggest awards, suggesting they are corrupt.

Ms Dugan was fired only months into her job as head of the Recording Academy and this week filed an explosive complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission that alleged she was sexually harassed and the music organisation was a "boy's club" that favoured friends.

She also said there was a "secret committee" that determined how songs and artists were nominated.

The academy, which has accused Ms Dugan of misconduct, has said it has launched an investigation.

Ms Dugan said in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America that she still planned to watch the Grammys, which air on Monday on Foxtel from 8am.

"There is a system of taking care of their own, it's mostly white male that are in those rooms, that make these decisions and there is conflicts of interest," Ms Dugan said in the TV interview.

"So, rigged is the term you would apply to it?" the host quizzed. "Yes," Ms Dugan said.

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Her complaint noted the "secret committee" deciding who gets Grammy nominations consisted of people with business and personal relationships with artists, and they pushed their favourites ahead.

The Grammy membership generally selects 20 potential nominees in categories, and internal committees whittle those lists down to the five or seven eventual nominees.

She claimed an artist who was ranked 18th out of 20 in the initial song of the year process for the 2019 awards got a nomination, and the artist was on the committee that decided the nominees.

The same artist, who Ms Dugan did not identify, is represented professionally by someone on the Recording Academy board.

Ms Dugan suggested the conflict was behind two notable snubs in the category - songs performed by Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran, although there has been some question about whether Grande had submitted her ineligible 2018 hit, Thank U, Next, for the award.

Brandi Carlile, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga were among the nominees for this award, which was won by This is America, by Childish Gambino.

In the category of jazz vocals, Ms Dugan alleged that an artist nominated for an award participated in the nomination process. Again, she did not name the artist involved.

Overall, she said some 30 artists whose work was not chosen as a potential nominee by the Recording Academy membership were added to that list because they had personal or business relationships with people on the nomination committees or the Academy's board.

Ms Dugan also said nominations were handed out to songs or albums because the producer of the annual awards show wanted them to be performed on the show.

Producer Ken Ehrlich did not answer a message seeking a response to Ms Dugan's allegations.

Despite her claims, Ms Dugan said she would be watching on Monday because she worked very hard on the show and loved the artists who would be performing.

"I couldn't say more positive things about all of the nominations and everyone that performs," she said.

"Oh, my God, I hate that I'm in this situation because I'd much rather be talking about the artists and their music."

- The Associated Press contributed to this report

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission