Ousted Grammy CEO speaks out in 1st interview since explosive lawsuit

The former Recording Academy CEO and president Deborah Dugan talks to “GMA” about the allegations that it was a “boys' club” that put their “financial interest above the academy’s mission.”
9:15 | 01/23/20

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Transcript for Ousted Grammy CEO speaks out in 1st interview since explosive lawsuit
What a great debut. That firestorm rocking the grammys. With three days to go until the big show Deborah Dugan, the first female chief, says she was pushed out after exposing sexual harassment in a toxic, quote, boys club. She's standing by. You see her there. First Amy with a closer look at the controversy, good morning, Amy That's right. The week leading up to the grammys is typically cause for celebration. There are parties, nearly every night. But the recording academy which has been trying to clean up its act when it comes to diversity is firing back at those explosive new allegations. And the grammy for album of the year -- And the grammy goes to. And the grammy goes to. Reporter: Music's most anticipated night fastly becoming music's biggest scandal with three days to go till the grammys, Deborah Dugan dropping bombshell allegations in a discrimination complaint against the recording academy of arts and sciences. Calling it a boys club that puts their financial interests above the academy's mission. In a 46-page complaint Dugan alleges that the voting process behind the awards is ripe with corruption involving secret committees which she claims push forward artists with whom they have relationships. A practice Dugan alleges last year affected artists like Ed sheeran. and Ariana grande. Thank you, next Reporter: Who she claims both failed to get nominations for song of the year in part because of favoritism and conflicts of interest. Dugan claims the board even manipulates the nominations process to ensure that certain songs or albums are nominated when the grammys producer wants a particular song performed during the show. In the complaint Dugan also highlighting what she calls the grammys' long-standing struggle with gender inequality and lack of diversity when it comes to album of the year saying those awards rarely go to r&b stars like Beyonce or Kanye but instead tend to be in the rock, country or pop genres. I can't accept this award. The "Lemonade" album was just so monumental, Beyonce. So monumental. Reporter: Dugan the academy's first female CEO also says she was sexually harassed by the general counsel who categorically denies her allegations and accuses her predecessor Neil portnow of sexually assaulting a female recording artist, allegations he says are ludicrous and untrue. The recording academy firing back alleging it was Dugan who created a toxic and intolerable work environment adding it immediately launched independent investigations to review both Ms. Dugan's potential misconduct and subsequent allegations. Overnight women on the executive committee of the recording academy calling the allegations deeply disturbing and heartbreaking adding, we would not have taken precious time away from our families and careers if we felt that it was a boys' club. We are joined by Deborah Dugan along with her attorney Doug Wigdor, thanks for coming in. The battle is pretty well joined. Let's start where Amy left off, those women on the executive board saying this is not a boys' club. Right, when I came in as the first CEO of the recording academy, 62 years, female, there are definitely amazing, amazing people that work there in the recording academy and also on the board. But at the very onset, in fact, under the guise of a work dinner I was propositioned by the general counsel, entertainment lawyer of an enormous power in the industry. Mr. Katz. He categorically denies those allegations and says you got the dinner completely wrong. Starting with calling me babe and saying how attractive I was and pretty I was, you know, the evening went on to, you know, a kiss, trying to kiss me and all the way through I felt like I was being tested and how much would I acquiesce and I realized that was a power setting move just on the onset as I was coming into the committee. George, it's on life support. The statements they're giving about Ms. Dugan creating a toxic work environment, getting executive board members to make statements they are in panic mode right now. The fact of the matter is this, Debrah right here worked for eight years as an executive at emi. She worked for eight years as a president at Disney. She worked for eight years for Bono at red raising hundreds of millions of dollars to eradicate AIDS. She never once filed an hr complaint and never once a complaint filed against her. I understand that but one of the things the academy says and appreciate you bringing that in. It's curious you never raised these allegations that you raised in the last week until a week after you were accused of bad conduct yourself. No, all along I had been bringing up what was happening and all along the -- You didn't file a motion, a formal complaint. No, she did. She filed a formal complaint. With hr. That's when she was placed on administrative leave for the first time over a completely innocuous complaint by a woman represented by a law firm that represented Harvey Weinstein. This was an executive assistant. So this is important. I understand that but just -- I want to clear it up. They say you filed it only after, a week after you were accused of the conduct. No, no, no, it was weeks after. She was not on administrative when she filed the complaint then she was placed on administrative leave and it's important to know this was a complaint made by an executive assistant, administrative assistant who had worked as an administrative assistant to the prior CEO. The CEO that was accused of rape and she comes in as the CEO. She's paid less than the prior two male CEOs and she's there now and she wants to have her own assistant like every other CEO in corporate America. She's the only CEO in corporate America that was placed on leave. I'm writing this not for you to take any action at this time. Why didn't you want them to take action? I actually wanted to make change from within. I moved across the country. I had a great job. I believe in what the recording academy should stand for for artists and I was trying at each step to take a deep breath and say, okay, I can make a difference. I can fix this. I can work with this team. And when I first started and -- at that first meeting with Joel, there was also a board meting and I found out that there was a rape allegation against the former CEO. That had not been brought to the attention -- He denies that as well. He hasn't denied that there was a rape allegation. He denies he committed rape. The broader complaints you're making. You wrote that the grammy voting process is ripe with corruption. When we're watching the grammys this Sunday we should be thinking, the fix is in, this is rigged? I'm saying that the system should be transparent and that there are -- there are incidents of conflict of interest that taints the results. I couldn't say more positive things about all of the nominations and everybody that performs and, oh, my god, I hate that I'm in this situation because I'd much rather be here talking about the artists and the music but I can't help but have to say there are conflicts of interest that go on. I want to talk about one of those specifically. Pretty startling. You write in the 2019 song of the year process, quote, one artist who initially ranked 18th out of 20 in the 2019 song of the year category ended up with a nomination. This artist was permitted to sit on the song of the year nomination committee. Incredibly this artist is also represented by a member of the board. Who is this person? Yes. We're not going to out the person. I don't -- for the artist's privacy and for the integrity of all those artists that are going to perform and get nominations this year, I don't want to say. But it's not even just that one room. I have evidence that in another room, of course, there were complaints made in the jazz category and -- You do have evidence. That was going to be my follow-up question. Where are you going to present that? I have a claim that I filed. And this is, of course, the year that Ed sheeran and Ariana grande did not get nominated. This is pretty serious. Yes. It's very serious and I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could make a difference. We don't want to be here, George. We're forced to be here. She was the one that was placed on leave. Today I was supposed to be giving a speech on the billboard power 100 about women in music. You love the artists and the grammys. Are you going to watch on Sunday? I am. You know, I am. I worked very hard on the show. And I love the artists that are going to be performing and I love all those that are nominated that don't get the honor of being on the -- We can all watch in good conscience as well. Yes, I think so. Robin. All right, George, coming up

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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