• Mon. Dec 11th, 2023

Ndokwa Vanguard

....we are out to educate, inform, sensitize & update

Former Grammy Awards head, Neil Portnow sued for r@pe by a member of the Recording Academy

Nov 9, 2023 #News

Former head of the Grammy Awards, Neil Portnow, has been sued by a member of the Recording Academy who claimed he drugged and raped her in a New York hotel in 2018.

The lawsuit, filed in New York state court Wednesday, accuses Portnow of sexual assault, which the Recording Academy “aided and abetted” to “protect their reputations and silence Plaintiff and other women in the music industry.”

The woman, who is not named in the lawsuit, is described as a musician who once performed at Carnegie Hall and was a former voting member of the Recording Academy, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Grammys.

In the lawsuit,  she says she met Portnow in January 2018 at an event for the 60th Grammy Awards, and later asked in May to interview him for her magazine while she was in New York.

According to the lawsuit, Portnow, 75, invited her to his hotel room for the interview, where he gave her a toothbrush/toothpaste set and Grammy merchandise, along with a drink that left her “disoriented and incapacitated.” She accused Portnow of raping her while she was in and out of consciousness.

The musician says that she emailed the Recording Academy in 2018 to report the assault, but the Academy never interviewed her about the allegations. The suit accuses the Recording Academy of negligent hiring, supervision and retention.

A spokesperson for Portnow claimed the allegations are “completely false.”

“The claims are the product of the Plaintiff’s imagination and undoubtedly motivated by Mr. Portnow’s refusal to comply with the Plaintiff’s outrageous demands for money and assistance in obtaining a residence visa for her,” said the spokesperson. “When the first attempt was made to extract money and other benefits … Mr. Portnow, who was at that time President/CEO of the Recording Academy, immediately enlisted the Academy’s HR Department to review the nonsensical text messages and emails that he made immediately available. An outside independent investigation led by top-tier lawyers, reviewed all relevant texts, emails, interviewed witnesses, and found absolutely no proof to support any of the allegations.”

In a statement, the Recording Academy told The Times: “We continue to believe the claims to be without merit and intend to vigorously defend the Academy in this lawsuit.”

Portnow, who was named CEO in 2002, announced in May 2018 that he would step down the following year, when his contract was set to expire.

Allegations of the sexual assault were first aired in 2020, in a discrimination complaint filed against the Recording Academy by Deborah Dugan, who had been hired to succeed Portnow but was abruptly fired less than a year into her term. Dugan also claimed that despite knowing about the 2018 assault, the Recording Academy asked her to hire Portnow back on as a consultant and pay him $750,000, which she declined.

Share this story to friends

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *