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TV Academy CEO Explains Crackdown on Emmys Block Voting

The Television Academy is getting serious about cracking down on what it calls “quid pro quo and block voting.”

The org confirmed that it has found that some members of the Academy’s performers peer group have “engaged in or advocated for block voting” in the 2019 Emmy awards competition, and as a result, they have been disqualified from voting in this year’s competition.

“The Television Academy has disqualified a few members who were engaged in the early stages of a block voting strategy for the first round of Emmy voting,” said Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma. “This is a direct violation of our rules of competition and our member code of conduct. This type of activity will not be tolerated. The Emmy stands for excellence and the integrity of this award is of paramount importance to the television industry.

“We will continue to be diligent in our efforts to ensure the fairness of this competition. In addition to our own rigorous safeguards, our independent auditors at EY monitor Emmy voting for potential improprieties.”

The Academy strengthened its rules this year on block voting, which has been a source of frustration for some Emmy contenders who feel that they are at a disadvantage when members vote as a group.

“Quid pro quo and block voting are considered by the Academy to be in violation of the spirit and substance of the member code of conduct clause that deems any action or activity which could reasonably be construed as contrary or detrimental to the best interests of the Academy to be a violation of the code,” per the TV Academy’s rules, which were updated on April 9.

“Emmy voting is meant to reflect an individual voter’s opinion rather than an ad-hoc group’s mandate. Per Paragraph 14 of the rules book chapter on Entry Procedures, ineligible entries will be disqualified at any stage of the competition. The intent of quid pro quo and block voting is to illegitimately advance an entry to a nomination or a nomination to a win. Although the entry, nomination or win may or may not be deemed ineligible, members found to be engaged or otherwise complicit in quid pro quo and block voting shall have any votes cast invalidated and be disqualified from subsequent voting in the Emmy competition.”

In a letter that the Academy sent to performers peer group members earlier today, Scherma and president/COO Maury McIntyre confirmed that “the Television Academy has determined that a few members of the Performers Peer Group have engaged in or advocated for block voting in the 2019 Emmy Awards competition… Any implicit or explicit suggestion of quid pro quo and/or block voting for the Emmy competition constitutes a breach of the 2018-2019 Emmy Awards Rules & Procedures and also may be a violation of the Academy’s Code of Conduct. As such, this activity may be grounds for a member to be disqualified from participation.”

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