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Ex-Grammys president Neil Portnow issues statement denying rape allegation

Portnow is accused by his successor Deborah Dugan of attacking a musician.

January 22, 2020
Ex-Grammys president Neil Portnow issues statement denying rape allegation Frazer Harrison/Getty Images  

Neil Portnow, the former president and CEO of the Recording Academy, has strenuously denied an allegation of rape included in a complaint filed by his successor, Deborah Dugan. In a wide-ranging document filed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission earlier this week, Dugan alleged that Portnow was fired from his role for raping a female musician. (Dugan herself was placed on administrative leave earlier this month after she was accused of misconduct by a "senior female member" of the Recording Academy.)

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Portnow has now denied the claims in a statement to Variety on Tuesday. He acknowledged that a complaint had been against him at one point, but claimed to have been "completely exonerated" following an independent investigation. “This document is filled with inaccurate, false and outrageous and terribly hurtful claims against me,” Portnow told Variety:

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“The allegations of rape are ludicrous, and untrue. The suggestion that there was is disseminating a lie. The baseless complaint about my conduct referenced in the EEOC filing was immediately brought to the attention of the Board of Director’s Executive Committee. An in-depth independent investigation by experienced and highly regarded lawyers was conducted and I was completely exonerated. There was no basis for the allegations and once again I deny them unequivocally.”

Dugan's full complaint alleges rampant corruption and harassment at the Grammys. Read it in full here.

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Ex-Grammys president Neil Portnow issues statement denying rape allegation