The Recording Academy, the body that presides over the Grammys, allegedly used non-disclosure agreements to prevent women from talking about sexual abuse within the organisation.
In a report published in the Los Angeles Times this week, the Academy is said to have made use of NDAs in exchange for money preventing negative stories emerging about it.
The Grammys take place in Los Angeles tonight (February 4), with a ceremony being held last night to bestow its Trustees Award on music industry attorney Joel Katz. In the new report, it is alleged that Katz, as chief counsel for the organisation, once offered Recording Academy employee Terry McIntyre $1 million not to report sexual assaults that she allegedly suffered while working at the organisation.
There is no suggestion that Katz was involved in wrongful conduct and it is not known who has been accused of the sexual assaults.
The Los Angeles Times reported that McIntyre, who was once executive director of the Academy’s Los Angeles department, said she turned down Katz’ offer.
In December, Rolling Stone reported that McIntyre sued former Academy president and chief executive Mike Greene for rape. Greene has denied McIntyre’s claims, with his representative saying: “Mr. Greene categorically denies Ms. McIntyre’s allegations and will vigorously defend against her spurious claim”.
In response to the Los Angeles Times’ new reports, the Recording Academy has said: “The Recording Academy has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual misconduct. Over the last four years we have worked hard to change the culture and evolve our Academy in every way. Our focus is on the future and on our mission to celebrate, uplift, but most importantly serve our music community. We will continue to listen, change, and work to be better in everything we do.”
The newspaper claims that at least five women have told them that they had signed NDAs in exchange for money preventing their allegations of abuse and mistreatment being heard.
The report comes out just days after the Women and Equalities Committee warned that women pursuing careers in the music industry face “endemic” misogyny and discrimination. The committee argued that “urgent action” was required to tackle the issue, noting that the sector is “dominated by self-employment and gendered power imbalances”.
The document they published described the industry as a “boys’ club” where sexual harassment and abuse is common, and the non-reporting of such incidents is high.
Last November, the UK government called for evidence from women in the music industry who had been asked to sign NDAs to silence sexual assault allegations as part of the WEC report.
During a hearing in September, DJ Annie Mac claimed that there was a “tidal wave” of sexual abuse cases throughout the music industry that had yet to come to light. The broadcaster described the music business as “a boys’ club” that was “kind of rigged against women”