A former Recording Academy executive filed a lawsuit against former Grammys CEO Mike Greene as well as the organization itself, accusing Greene of sexually assaulting her multiple times when she was his employee.
Terri McIntyre, who served as the Recording Academy’s Los Angeles chapter executive director from 1994 to 1996, filed a graphic 55-page suit in Los Angeles Court on Wednesday, claiming that Greene, who stepped down as Grammy chief in 2002 amid other sexual misconduct claims, sexually harassed and assaulted her over the two-year period. McIntyre also named the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the longstanding organization that oversees the Grammys, as defendants, claiming it was negligent and attempted to help cover up the claims.
Greene was a controversial figure within the Recording Academy during his tenure. He served as CEO from the late 1980s until 2002, during which time he was considered widely instrumental in expanding the annual Grammy awards into a major global ceremony, and for establishing the Latin Recording Academy and Latin Grammys.
But extensive reporting in the Los Angeles Times detailed sexual harassment allegations along with claims that he abused his power in the music industry for his own personal gain. In 2001, the Recording Academy reportedly paid a $650,000 settlement to a former Grammy executive over a sexual misconduct claim. In 2002, Greene stepped down months after the Recording Academy launched a probe into sexual harassment allegations, though as reports of the time note, the Recording Academy cleared him of wrongdoing and he was paid nearly $8 million in severance. (Greene denied any wrongdoing both in the 1990s and when he stepped down in 2002.)
McIntyre is suing Greene for sexual battery, battery and assault and is suing the Academy for negligent hiring, supervision and retention, negligence, harassment on the basis of sex/gender and failure to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment.
Greene did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A rep for the Recording Academy tells Rolling Stone that “in light of pending litigation, the Academy declines to comment on these allegations, which occurred nearly 30 years ago. Today’s Recording Academy has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual misconduct and we will remain steadfast in that commitment.”
“[Greene’s] criminal, disgusting and deviant actions were devastating and soul-crushing. As a young, single mother pursuing what, until then, was a promising career in the music industry, I had nowhere to turn and received no help from the Recording Academy,” McIntyre said in a statement. “Mike Greene lied, of course, and the Recording Academy covered up his crimes. I, too, was offered significant settlements to silence and coerce me to sign non-disclosure agreements, which would forever protect Mike Greene and the Recording Academy from the crimes he and they committed against me. In each instance my response never wavered: ‘I am not for sale, lease, or rent. One day the time will be right, and I will be strong enough to tell my story.’”
The complaint against Greene marks the second lawsuit against the Recording Academy and its former executives in the past month. In November, an anonymous Jane Doe accuser claimed that Neil Portnow — Greene’s successor who served as CEO from 2002 to 2019 — drugged and raped her in 2018 and that the Recording Academy never interviewed her about the allegation. (Portnow denied the accusation, stating the claims were “that the product of the Plaintiff’s imagination and undoubtedly motivated by Mr. Portnow’s refusal to comply with the Plaintiff’s outrageous demands for money,” while the Recording Academy said that they “continue to believe the claims to be without merit.”)
“It is the most excruciatingly graphic, vivid and detailed lawsuit I’ve ever filed,” McIntyre’s attorney Jeff Anderson, who also filed the lawsuit against Portnow, says. “And it’s time for the horror to be acknowledged and to be exposed. This story can’t be told but for the courage of Terri and the others that are now standing in with her.
“This being the second [lawsuit] against the Recording Academy has put them on my radar,” Anderson continues. “I’ve interviewed countless witnesses including Terri that reflects a culture so Baroque, so fortress-like, it reminds me of a king presiding in a castle and fortress that has unfettered power to have his way and his will, in the most perverse manners imaginable.”
The allegations date back to when McIntyre started her job at the Recording Academy in 1994. According to the suit, soon after starting her job, Greene allegedly told McIntyre that “he expected Plaintiff to perform sex acts for Defendant Greene in order to remain employed and progress at Defendant Academy.”
“Indeed, Defendant Greene repeatedly told Plaintiff that she needed to ‘give some head to get ahead’ with Defendant Greene and Defendant Academy,” the suit said, further alleging that Greene threatened to blackball McIntyre in the music business if she didn’t meet his demands.
By May 1994, just over two months into her employment, McIntyre claims Greene drugged and sexually assaulted her in a hotel room during the organization’s annual meeting of trustees in Hawaii. According to the suit, after hosting a dinner and concert for the trustees, Greene invited the group back to his hotel room to celebrate with champagne. Greene poured and served all the glasses to each employee in the room individually, the suit said.
McIntyre alleged that soon after drinking her glass, she “began to feel unwell and began to lose control of her physical movements. As Plaintiff continued to lose control of her body, she noticed others exiting Defendant Greene’s hotel room, leaving Plaintiff isolated with Defendant Greene.”
McIntyre claimed that her last memory of the night was being alone with Greene in his hotel room, and that she woke up the next morning naked in Greene’s bed beside the former Grammy chief, who was also naked. She left the room as quietly as she could to avoid waking Greene, according to the suit.
“With her shoes in her hand, Plaintiff walked to her hotel room, collapsing on her bed as she cried uncontrollably,” the suit said. “Plaintiff knew what Defendant had done to her, Plaintiff felt wetness between her legs and smelled of intercourse. Feeling confused, repulsed, violated, soiled, shaken, and ashamed, Plaintiff struggled to stand in the shower as she tried to wash Defendant Greene and his sexual assault off her weakened body.”
McIntyre says she started seeing a mental health professional after the alleged incident, who allegedly told her to report the incident to the police, but McIntyre claimed she never did so out of fear of retaliation.
“Plaintiff was a young, single mother and Defendant Greene was a wealthy, powerful, and prominent figure in the Music Industry,” the suit said. “Moreover, Plaintiff knew by this time that any report she made would effectively end her career. Just as Defendant Greene got Plaintiff her position, he held the power to effectively block her from any further positions in the Music Industry.”
According to the suit, Greene continued to sexually harass McIntyre after the alleged assault, invading her personal space at the office as well as touching McIntyre’s legs, shoulders, neck, breasts and butt.
“Greene’s propensity to sexually harass and sexually assault Plaintiff by groping her buttocks became so severe and pervasive that Plaintiff began taking actions to evade Defendant Greene, including, but not limited to, not standing next to Defendant Greene when group photographs were taken as Defendant Greene frequently used such opportunities to grope her,” the suit said.
According to the suit, Greene allegedly sexually assaulted McIntyre again at his home in Malibu after the alleged Hawaii incident. Greene asked McIntyre to come with him in his car to a meeting at Pepperdine University in Malibu. They stopped at Greene’s Malibu home first, according to the suit, because Greene said they were early and he wanted to show her the new home.
McIntyre sat in the kitchen in the home, per the suit, while Greene paced behind her and eventually exposed his erect penis to her while standing over her. “Before Plaintiff could react, Defendant Greene grabbed the back of Plaintiff’s head with Defendant Greene’s hands and shoved his erect penis into Plaintiff’s mouth,” the suit said, adding that McIntyre “tried to get away” from Greene.
Joanne Gardner, a former Recording Academy executive in the mid-1990s, tells Rolling Stone that McIntyre came to her home around 1995 to confide many of the same allegations detailed in Wednesday’s lawsuit. Gardner says that when she worked at the Recording Academy, both Greene and the organization cultivated a toxic and abusive workplace environment that was unsafe for women.
“It was a predatory place for women and Mike Greene was predator in chief,” Gardner says. “This was deviant sexual manipulation. And it was all power-based. These young women didn’t have anybody to take care of them at that point.”
Beyond the alleged assaults, one evening after work, McIntyre got a call from a supervisor asking if she was having an affair with Greene, the suit claimed. Mcintyre vehemently denied it. The supervisor claimed that she and Greene were in a relationship, and shared further intimate details regarding the claim.
The next day, according to the suit, Greene allegedly threatened to fire McIntyre if she didn’t reveal what she and her supervisor spoke about the night before, which further complicated her job as “her female supervisor was harsh and difficult with Plaintiff for sharing the details of their intimate conversation” while Greene “was on alert” that McIntyre knew about the alleged affair.
McIntyre grew increasingly anxious at work due to Greene’s behavior, according to the suit, further alleging that she and her assistant set up a system where he’d ring a bell to give her advance notice if Greene was coming by. Patrick Gleason, McIntyre’s assistant at the time, confirmed that system to Rolling Stone. Gleason says he knew there was a problem between Greene and McIntyre and recalled McIntyre’s stress and her avoidance of the office, he says. “I started realizing whenever [Greene] would come around, her anxiety level would visibly pitch upward,” Gleason says. “Before she left, it was a lot of panicky stress.”
According to the suit, the Recording Academy lacked a Human Resources department at the time, leaving McIntyre with few options on how to handle the work environment. McIntyre allegedly went to another Recording Academy executive to tell him she felt unsafe with Greene, and the executive gave her a new supervisor. McIntyre claims she went to the new supervisor with the same claims, but that both told her that “Greene was beyond reproach, bulletproof, and that there was nothing they could do to help Plaintiff.”
Eventually, the suit said, McIntyre began asking other Recording Academy trustees if she could join their companies, but that none would hire her citing fear of retaliation from Greene.
“Greene may decide to reject one of the Trustees’s artists on the Grammy telecast,” if they hired her, the suit said. “They could not take such a risk.”
By April 1996, McIntyre sent in her resignation. “Plaintiff came to understand that her hopes, dreams, and aspirations to work in the Music Industry were defunct and unreachable,” the suit said. “Plaintiff’s dream had quickly turned into her nightmare, a nightmare that she could not escape.”
McIntyre claimed in the suit that the Academy and Greene “attempted to cover up [Greene’s] sexual harassment and assault” and claimed that while she declined offers to received a severance package or payment in exchange for signing an NDA. “As a survivor of sexual harassment and sexual assault perpetrated by one of the most powerful men in the Music Industry in one of the most powerful institutions in the Music Industry, Plaintiff refuses to allow her silence to be bought and to allow the cover-up to continue,” the suit said.
The suit was filed through California’s AB 2777, which temporarily waives the statutes of limitations on sexual abuse civil claims. As Rolling Stone reported last week, the window will likely yield several more lawsuits against music industry figures, continuing the wave of allegations made prominent through New York’s Adult Survivor’s Act.