The former head of the organization behind the Grammy Awards, Neil Portnow, has been sued by a musician for allegedly drugging and raping her in 2018.
According to reports, the state suit filed in Manhattan accuses Neil Portnow, who stepped down as head of the Recording Academy in 2019 over his disparaging comments towards women. The petition also accuses the Academy of negligence.
Reacting to the petition, the Recording Academy, which denied the allegation, in a statement vowed to “vigorously defend the Academy in this lawsuit.”
“We continue to believe the claims to be without merit,” it said.
The suit does not name the woman to maintain her privacy.
The petition resurrects criticism of both Portnow and the Academy, which resulted in the prominent executive’s departure in 2019 after 17 years, following his contentious statements that women should “step up” to get more recognition for their efforts in an industry dominated by white men.
According to the reports, the female musician met Portnow at a Grammy-related event in New York, which hosted the awards in 2018.
The musician alleges he invited her to his hotel room and offered her wine, which she drank before beginning “to feel woozy.” Portnow did not drink, as the suit says.
She further disclosed that she wanted to go, but Portnow stated that there were no taxis available.
She then passed out shortly after the former executive told her, “I have been thinking about you for a very long time.”
According to the claim, the woman awoke during the night while Portnow was raping her and was still groggy the next morning.
According to the article, she was concerned about his power in the sector, but she reported her testimony to Academy officials months later and was ignored.
According to the lawsuit, the woman filed a police report against Portnow, but law enforcement officials declined to pursue it at the time.
The accusation was first made public in 2020, when Portnow’s replacement as Recording Academy president, Deborah Dugan, launched an explosive discrimination case against the organization.
According to her 44-page lawsuit, she was suspended from the Grammy Awards after raising concerns about sexual harassment, vote irregularities, and other misbehavior within one of music’s most influential organizations.
Dugan included the rape accusation in her complaint, which Portnow also rejected at the time.
Portnow’s comments in 2018 that women should “step up”—given” that the #MeToo movement was exploding, was the last straw on a mountain of criticism which alleged that the Grammy Awards overwhelmingly favoured white male artists.