The Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. is defending his organization’s controversial Grammy nominations for Marilyn Manson after he was accused of sexual misconduct by several women.
Mason spoke with The Wrap on Tuesday and said that the Recording Academy doesn’t ‘restrict’ who can submit their names for awards consideration.
However, the 53-year-old producer and executive stopped short of saying that controversial artists would be welcome at the Grammy ceremony.
Pushing back: Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr., 53, defended Marilyn Manson’s Grammy nominations in an interview with The Wrap on Tuesday; pictured November 18 in Las Vegas
According to Mason, the Grammy nominations are purely aimed at singling out the best recorded work of the year.
‘We won’t restrict the people who can submit their material for consideration,’ he explained. ‘We won’t look back at people’s history, we won’t look at their criminal record, we won’t look at anything other than the legality within our rules of, is this recording for this work eligible based on date and other criteria. If it is, they can submit for consideration.’
But those artists might find a colder reception when it comes time for the big night.
‘What we will control is our stages, our shows, our events, our red carpets,’ Mason continued. ‘We’ll take a look at anyone who is asking to be a part of that, asking to be in attendance, and we’ll make our decisions at that point. But we’re not going to be in the business of restricting people from submitting their work for our voters to decide on.’
No preconditions: Mason said the Grammy nominations wouldn’t look at ‘people’s history’ or ‘criminal record,’ though controversial figures might not be invited to the ceremony; Manson seen in February 2020 in Beverly Hills
Although Mason didn’t specifically mention Manson (born Brian Warner) by name, the shock rocker and the Grammys came in for criticism after he earned two nominations, one for Album of the Year for his contributions to Kanye West’s Donda and one for Best Rap Song for the album track Jail, which features his vocals.
In February of this year, Manson’s former fiancée Evan Rachel Wood accused him of sexual and emotional abuse.
She wrote on social media that he had groomed her since she was a teenager, and she said she was ‘brainwashed’ by him due to being ‘horrifically abused’ by him for years.
Manson denied the allegations on Instagram and claimed that his music and life had ‘long been magnets for controversy.’
‘My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how — and why — others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth,’ he wrote.
Several other women subsequently publicly accused the musician of sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct, which led his record label, his talent agency and his manager to cut ties with him.
Controversy: Manson scored nominations for Album of the Year and Best Rap Song for Kanye West collaboration despite multiple allegations of sexual misconduct; seen in 2019 in Houston
Many Kanye West fans were shocked to see Manson pop up on Donda so soon after the various allegations.
The lyrics to jail seemed particularly distasteful to some considering that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced in February that Manson was being investigated for domestic violence allegations.
In the song, he and West sing together lines in the chorus about being sent to jail: ‘Guess who’s goin’ to jail tonight? / God gon’ post my bail tonight.’
In addition to Manson, comedian Louis CK, who was accused of sexual harassment, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album for Sincerely Louis CK.
The comedian previously admitted to exposing himself and masturbating in front of multiple women after he was accused by several people.
CK’s friend Dave Chappelle was nominated in the Spoken Word category for his special 8:46, which was inspired by the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chapelle has come under fire for his latest special The Closer, which features a lengthy section that critics have derided as being transphobic.
Back from exile: In addition to Manson, comedian Louis CK, who was accused of sexual harassment, earned a nomination for Best Comedy Album; seen in 2016 in NYC
Grammy praise: CK’s friend Dave Chappelle was nominated in the Spoken Word category for his special 8:46 despite claims of transphobia in his latest special, The Closer; seen October 30 in Cleveland, Ohio
- Grammys Chief Defends Noms for Marilyn Manson, Louis CK