Great Britain

Deborah Dugan: Ousted Grammy boss says award nominations are 'tainted' by 'conflicts of interest'

The ousted head of the Grammy Awards says the nominations are “tainted” by conflicts of interest that affect how some songs and artists are nominated.

Deborah Dugan was fired just months after starting her job as head of the Recording Academy, and this week filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission that she was harassed in what she called a “boy’s club” that favours friends.

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

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Those allegations overshadowed the charges made against the integrity of the annual award ceremony, which is set to be televised on CBS this weekend.

Speaking to ABC, Dugan said: “The system should be transparent and there are incidents of conflicts of interest that taint the results.”

She claimed that the “secret committee” that draws up the Grammy nominations contains people with business and personal links to artists, and, sometimes, they’ll use those positions to push their favourites ahead.

She said that one artist ranked 18th out of 20 in the song of the year process last year got a nomination regardless - because they were on the committee that decided the nominees.

Dugan claimed the unnamed star is represented professionally by someone on the Recording Academy board.

Dugan said the conflict of interest was behind the snub of songs performed by Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran.

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

She also claimed that some 30 artists whose work was not chosen as a potential nominee by the Recording Academy membership for jazz vocals were added to the list because they had personal or business relationships with people on the nomination committees or the Academy's board.

Despite her concerns about the process, she said she will still watch the ceremony on Sunday: "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."

Agencies contributed to this report