A crisis at the Grammy Awards has deepened after the chief executive of the organising body, who is currently suspended, said she had evidence of “serious” irregularities in the voting.
Deborah Dugan has spoken for the first time since the Recording Academy put her on administrative leave last week.
The Academy has questioned Dugan’s timing, saying she only came forward after being accused of misconduct.
The row threatens to overshadow Sunday’s star-studded ceremony.
Dugan rejected the Academy’s narrative, saying she had been trying “to make change from within” before going public.
Speaking to ABC News, she said: “I was trying at each step to take a deep breath and say, ‘OK, I can make a difference, I can fix this, I can work with this team.'”
FULL INTERVIEW: "I have evidence…"
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 23, 2020
The Academy said it has launched two independent investigations – into the complaints made by Dugan, and those made against her.
In the ABC interview, she explained that the prestigious US music awards were “tainted” by conflicts of interest.
Dugan’s accusations first emerged in an explosive 44-page complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Tuesday.
In the complaint, she described the Grammys as a “boys’ club” where votes were manipulated by “secret committees”.
In particular, she outlined an incident where an unnamed artist and their representative sat on the nominating committee for the song of the year category in 2019.
As a result, she claimed, that artist ended up on the shortlist ahead of acts like Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande.
Dugan declined to name the musician who had been promoted to the shortlist to protect their “privacy” and “integrity”, but argued that artists “deserve better” than the current system.
“It’s mostly white males that are in those rooms that make these decisions, and there’s a conflict of interest,” she said in a separate interview on CBS breakfast show This Morning.
“If you represent that artist, you have a financial gain if they get nominated for a Grammy.”
“So rigged is a term you would apply to it?” asked CBS reporter Tony Dokoupil.
“Yes it is,” Dugan replied.