×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fired MusiCares Exec Claims She Was Victim of Grammy ‘Boys’ Club’

UPDATED: A former VP of MusiCares sued the Recording Academy on Monday, alleging she was fired after blowing the whistle on financial impropriety.

Dana Tomarken, 75, also alleges that she was terminated because of her age and gender, and accuses Academy chairman and president Neil Portnow of running a “boys’ club.”

After she was fired in April, Variety broke the news that Tomarken had written a 4,500-word letter to the Recording Academy’s board, in which she accused Portnow of steering money away from the Grammy’s charitable organization.

On Tuesday, a rep for the Recording Academy sent Variety the following statement: “The accusations have no merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves.”

MusiCares provides medical and other assistance to members of the music community. Tomarken had been with the organization for 25 years when was fired.

In her lawsuit, filed in L.A. Superior Court, Tomarken states that the organization was hit with unexpected costs due to its decision to hold the 2018 Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden. Tomarken alleges she was pressured to hold MusiCares’ annual gala, the Person of the Year event, at Radio City Music Hall, which is operated by MSG. She states that as a result of higher costs, the event raised only $1 million — down from $5 million in previous years.

Tomarken accuses Portnow of blocking her efforts to brief the board on the matter. Around the same time, she says she was confronted with allegations that she had used an unsold hotel certificate from a MusiCares auction to go to Portugal. She says she paid for the item as soon as she was reminded of it.

Tomarken says the investigation of the Portugal hotel voucher was used as a pretext to fire her, after 25 years of service to MusiCares. She also alleges that she, like other women at the Academy, were held out of top leadership roles, and that she was repeatedly denied promotions.

“She was treated worse as she became older,” the suit alleges. “The culture of sexism that pervaded the Academy and MusiCares was evidenced by the ‘boys’ club’ surrounding Neil Portnow… The so-called boys’ club was a group of men who were deeply loyal to Mr. Portnow, regularly socialized with him, and served as go-tos for anything he needed. Multiple women failed at breaking down the barriers to join this club.”

The suit alleges violations of anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws.

In response to Tomarken’s letter last May, the Academy said that MusiCares’ interests were not sacrificed to benefit the Academy, and that Tomarken had not raised her claims of mistreatment until after she was fired.

Tomarken suit by on Scribd

More Music

  • Tencent Music presentation at Shanghai

    Shanghai: Tencent Proposes Alliance of Music and Film

    All tech companies strive to be ubiquitous. Within China, behemoth Tencent is a clear leader of the pack. From the company’s “pan entertainment strategy” in 2012 to its 2018 equivalent “neo-creativity strategy,” Tencent keeps unveiling new master plans, each time with more in-house platforms and business approaches involved. On the margins of the Shanghai International [...]

  • Dee Rees

    Dee Rees Directing 'Kyd's Exquisite Follies' Movie Musical

    “Mudbound” director Dee Rees will direct independent movie musical fantasy “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” from her own script. “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” will be produced by Cassian Elwes, one of the “Mudbound” producers. Santigold is set to compose the music, with Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic creating the film’s visual effects. Endeavor Content is repping the [...]

  • Genius Spars With Google Over Lyric

    Genius Accuses Google of Scraping Song Lyrics, Music Data Company Hits Back

    Lyrics annotation service Genius.com has accused Google of scraping its site and stealing its content, the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend. However, a lyrics data provider at the center of the controversy claimed on Monday that those allegations were without merit. The Journal reported that Genius had been complaining to Google about the alleged [...]

  • Raptors' Win Enraptures Top Canadian Music

    Raptors' Win Enraptures Top Canadian Music Exec Chris Taylor

    It’s not just a Drake thing — the entire Canadian music business is feeling gleeful over Toronto’s NBA championship. Among the celebrants is Toronto-bred Chris Taylor, the global president of music at Entertainment One, the global music and filmed company based in the land of Raptors. He was at the team’s very first game in 1995 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content