Hollywood, take a hint: women cannnot be slienced


Illustration by Kathleen Hetherington.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is facing a lawsuit from Deborah Dugan, the previous CEO of the company. She claims to have been wrongfully fired after raiding allegations of sexual harassment and irregularities throughout Grammy nominations. 

Dugan brought up rape allegations first mentioned to her by a female artist, which ultimately led to her termination. Not only is this a way of hushing employees in order to save face, but it’s also a tactic seen more often than not in large companies. The industry continues to try and silence women through threats, payoffs and replacements. However, women are tired of being muffled due to lack of respect and misogyny in the industry. 

The former CEO not only raised concerns for multiple female artists but claimed for herself to have been sexually harassed by Joel Katz, an entertainment lawyer. After the claims were sent to HR, Dugan was fired to retaliate against the claims and scare her with the loss of her job. However, this didn’t stop her from calling the company out and filing a lawsuit. 

The Recording Academy attempted to make excuses for Dugan’s termination, claiming that she was a bully and didn’t have the right attitude for the job. This really just shows the company’s lack of effort to stay near the truth. Every word from them is dripping with false pretenses and reek of last-minute justification. 

Dugan correctly described the board as a “boy’s club,” and she has obviously learned how to fight from that side of the conference room. Her allegations are not only straightforward but also conflicting with the weak opposition of the Recording Academy. It’s getting repetitive seeing so many allegations from the entertainment world. One can assume what may happen in Hollywood, but everyone is now starting to realize that shutting women up just pisses them off. 

In a career known to belittle women and tear them down based on disagreements, Dugan has rightly made an impact on women too afraid to not only face their offender, but to do so in a work environment as well. It’s shocking to see that HR, the safe haven for internal conflict, was the one to betray the trust of Dugan after facing enough criticism and slander already. This seems all too familiar after the disbelief of Kesha and Lily Allen, among other artists in previous years.

While Dugan is not necessarily a well known celebrity, she is still making her mark throughout Hollywood by doing something many women are terrified to do themselves. While surrounded by a legal team, Dugan is just as outspoken outside the shadows as she would have been within them. 

This is an encouraging moment for any woman facing abuse, especially in a work environment. Though her courage might not always be shared, this is an achievement for women being silenced by big name companies, especially those with so much respect.