Former Head Of The Recording Academy Neil Portnow Sued For Rape
Neil Portnow, the former president and chairman of the Recording Academy, has been sued for rape.
According to the New York Times, an unnamed musician claims Portnow drugged and raped her in a New York hotel room in 2018.
Filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the suit alleges Portnow of sexual battery, while also accusing the Academy of negligence, believing the board was aware of the allegations.
In a statement, the plaintiff's lawyer, Jeffrey R. Anderson, said, "Neil Portnow gives lip service to women as standing up. But he does a disservice to every woman and every musician who is being oppressed by him and others. This is not just about Neil Portnow and not just about the Recording Academy, but about the culture in the music and entertainment industry and its doublespeak about rape and abuse.”
Portnow's spokesperson denies the allegations, saying it is “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 and assistance in obtaining a residence visa for her. The latest incarnation of her accusations offers a ‘new and improved’ story, padding it with even more outrageous and untrue allegations.”
While the suit does not name the accuser, they are described as an "instrumentalist from outside the United States who once performed at Carnegie Hall."
Portnow stepped down from his role in 2019, after being accused of misogynistic behaviour, following controversial comments in which he called out female artists, saying they need "to step up," in the wake of the male-dominated 2018 Grammy Awards. It sparked an immediate backlash from the music community, with the likes of P!nk, Sheryl Crow, Tegan and Sara, and Charli XCX making statements against Portnow's comments.
Portnow served as the chairman and CEO of the Recording Academy and MusiCares from 2002 to 2019.