The entertainment industry in California has been the site of a number of serious sexual harassment allegations in recent years. After all, the #MeToo movement developed out of revelations about alleged harassment and assaults committed by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Many of the harassment victims who have since come forward have included high-profile executives, professionals and actors. Now, the Grammy Awards are also coming under scrutiny after the suspended CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences filed a workplace discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that she was retaliated against for reporting unwanted sexual advances.
The recently suspended CEO, who was removed from her position shortly before the 2020 Grammy Awards, said that her suspension came shortly after she submitted a letter to the Academy’s human resources department detailing sexual harassment by a prominent entertainment lawyer. The lawyer serves as general counsel for the Academy as well as founding and heading the entertainment law practice for Greenberg Traurig. She said that the lawyer attempted to kiss her and approached her to spend private time together on multiple occasions during the hiring process for the CEO position. She said that she viewed this behavior as part of an overall “boys’ club” attitude.
The CEO was hired after her predecessor resigned following a controversy about women’s inclusion in the music industry. His comments seemed to blame women for not doing enough to counter systemic discrimination, sparking backlash. However, the Academy said that the suspended CEO was removed from her position because she behaved abusively to subordinate staff at the organization.
Many workers in far more vulnerable positions hesitate to report sexual harassment because they fear they will face retaliation. Employees who have been subjected to workplace discrimination and harassment may consult an employment law attorney about their options to pursue justice.