Plaintiff accuses former head of Grammy Awards of drugging and raping her in New York hotel in 2018.
A musician filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the former head of the organization in charge of the Grammy Awards, Neil Portnow, accusing him of drugging and raping her in a New York hotel room in 2018.
According to the complaint, obtained by the New York Times, the plaintiff began to feel “woozy” after drinking a glass of wine offered by Neil Portnow. She then lost consciousness and woke up several times during the night, feeling that the executive was sexually assaulting her, including attempting to penetrate her “by force.”
The plaintiff, whose identity remains protected, also accuses the Recording Academy – the American association of the music industry, which organizes the Grammy Awards – of negligence.
She claims that the organization ignored her testimony when she reported this rape to officials.
This lawsuit brings back the organization’s tumultuous recent years. After 17 years at the helm of the Academy, Neil Portnow was dismissed in 2019 following statements deemed sexist.
But in 2020, his replacement, Deborah Dugan, was also dismissed after only a few months as head, and she pointed out many dysfunctions within the organization and accused her predecessor of raping a musician – the same one who filed the lawsuit, according to the New York Times. According to her, this was the “real reason her contract was not renewed.”
The musician in question had kept quiet until now, and Neil Portnow has always denied these allegations. One of his representatives denied the new detailed accusations to the American newspaper.
“They are ‘the product of the plaintiff’s imagination’ and are ‘undoubtedly motivated by Neil Portnow’s refusal to comply with the plaintiff’s outrageous demands for money and assistance in obtaining a residency visa (in the United States) for her,’ he reacted in a statement.
Contacted by AFP, the Recording Academy said it was ready to “vigorously defend the Academy in this proceeding.” “We continue to believe that the complaints are without merit,” it added.