Music

Ex-Recording Academy CEO Mike Greene Hit With Sexual Assault & Harassment Lawsuit

Former Grammys CEO Mike Greene and the Recording Academy are facing a lawsuit alleging Greene sexually assaulted an Academy employee in the 1990s.

In a complaint filed Wednesday (Dec. 6) in Los Angeles court, Terri McIntyre claims that during her tenure at the Academy from 1994 to 1996, she was “forced to endure pervasive, incessant and routine sexual harassment and/or sexual assault” from Greene, who oversaw the Grammys ceremony for 14 years.

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The lawsuit accuses Greene of sexual assault and battery and accuses the Academy itself of negligence and other forms of wrongdoing for allegedly enabling the abuse, including by trying to “actively cover-up, conceal and/or repeatedly excuse Greene’s sexual misconduct.”

Greene did not immediately return a request for comment. In a statement, the Academy said: “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.”

The new case comes just weeks after another former Recording Academy CEO, Neil Portnow, was sued by an unnamed female musician who says he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2018. That case, which also named the Academy as a defendant, was filed by the same law firm as Wednesday’s new suit.

Greene, who transformed the Grammy Awards from an industry ritual into a global television event, abruptly resigned from the Academy in 2002 amid accusations of sexual harassment. Though an internal Academy investigation cleared him of wrongdoing and he was paid an $8 million severance, Greene had long been dogged by criticism that ran the organization “almost as a personal fiefdom.”

In Wednesday’s lawsuit, McIntyre says that shortly after starting her “dream job” as the Academy’s Los Angeles chapter executive director in 1994, Greene began to sexually harass her — including by allegedly telling her directly that “he expected plaintiff to perform sex acts for defendant Greene in order to remain employed and progress at defendant Academy.”

“Defendant Greene repeatedly told plaintiff that she needed to ‘give some head to get ahead’,” her lawyers write in the complaint.

According to the lawsuit, harassment then progressed into assault. McIntyre claims that after she drank champagne with Greene and others in his hotel room during a May 1994 work trip to Hawaii, she “quickly began to feel unwell and began to lose control of her physical movements.” She says she then awoke nude in his bed the next morning.

“Plaintiff knew what defendant had done to her,” her lawyers write. “Plaintiff felt wetness between her legs and smelled of intercourse.”

McIntyre says she did not report the incident because Greene “held the power to effectively block her from any further positions in the music industry.” But she claims that he continued to subject her to harassment and unwanted touching, including “groping her buttocks” and breasts.

In another incident, McIntyre says Greene brought her to his home under the guise of a work meeting but then forced her to perform oral sex on him, including by grabbing her by the back of the head and forcing her to continue as she “tried to get away.”

When she finally reported Greene’s behavior to her supervisor, McIntyre says she was told that she “should just find a way to get along” with Green and that if she could not do so, she “would not be successful, or employed, at defendant Academy for very long.”

The lawsuit says McIntyre later resigned and was forced to quit the music industry entirely, moving to her hometown and applying for entry-level jobs. “Plaintiff came to understand that her hopes, dreams, and aspirations to work in the music industry were defunct and unreachable,” her lawyers say, after she spent two years “being prey to a predator that defendant Academy could have stopped.”

McIntyre’s case was filed under California’s AB 2777, a state law that created a temporary window for survivors of sexual assault to file lawsuits that would normally be barred by the statute of limitations. The law, which doesn’t expire until 2026, is similar to New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which led to a flurry of sexual abuse cases in that state over the past month.

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