According to Los Angeles Times, the Recording Academy allegedly used nondisclosure agreements in exchange for money to keep women from talking about sexual abuse within the organization. The paper claims that attorney Joel Katz, who will receive a Trustees Awards from the Academy tomorrow, once offered Terri McIntyre $1 million not to report alleged sexual assaults she suffered while working for the organization.
McIntyre, who was once executive director of the Recording Academy’s Los Angeles chapter, told the paper she turned down the offers in phone calls with Katz. The paper refers to a friend of McIntyre who said McIntyre had told them about the offer in exchange for the NDA.
In December, McIntyre sued Mike Greene, onetime academy president and chief executive, for rape. The Times reports that Greene previously denied that anyone at the Recording Academy engaged in sexual misconduct. (Greene has denied McIntyre’s claims, and L.A. Times quoted a rep for him as saying, “Mr. Greene categorically denies Ms. McIntyre’s allegations and will vigorously defend against her spurious claims.”)
“The Recording Academy has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual misconduct,” the organization told the Times. “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 Recording Academy, Katz, and Greene did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.
The Times reported that at least five women told the paper that they’d signed NDAs in exchange for money to keep their allegations of abuse and mistreatment quiet.
Joanne Gardner Lowell, who reported to Greene as senior director of special projects at the Academy, told the Times that the exec’s alleged behavior and practice of using NDAs was well known. “The point was for people to be uncomfortable,” Lowell told the paper. “When I did my paperwork [Greene] said I had to sign an NDA. I said, ‘Don’t do anything you don’t want to get sued over.’ The rule at the academy was, ‘Don’t speak about anything that happened within these walls.’” Lowell told Rolling Stone last year that she regarded Greene as “predator in chief.”
Another person, Greg Knowles, who served on the Academy’s board of governors for two decades and as its L.A. president, told the paper if “the subject of Mike Greene came up, that there were a lot of NDAs.”
The paper also cited a woman, Dana Tomarken, who worked for the academy’s philanthropic endeavor, MusiCares, who said she never saw Greene “misuse a woman in any way, shape, or form.”
She later sued the organization alleging wrongful termination, which occurred after Neil Portnow succeeded Greene in the Recording Academy’s leadership. She and the organization settled out of court, and she told the Times that she had signed an NDA. The Academy has denied wrongdoing in her case. (Portnow has since been sued for rape, which he has denied, by an unnamed musical artist.)
In 2001, the Recording Academy reportedly paid a $650,000 settlement to an executive over a harassment and abuse claim against Greene, according to The New York Times. Greene stepped down in 2002 amid allegations of sexual harassment, though Los Angeles Times reports that the Recording Academy said it had cleared him of wrongdoing before paying him close to $8 million in severance.