While the Recording Academy is tasked with tabulating the votes and handing out the annual Grammy Awards, policing whose work is submitted for nominations is outside of the group’s purview, according to Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason. The issue popped up on Tuesday (Nov. 23) after the reveal of the 2022 Grammy Awards nominees, which included two performers who’ve been accused of sexual misconduct: Marilyn Manson and comedian/actor Louis C.K.
“We won’t restrict the people who can submit their material for consideration. 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,” Mason told The Wrap when asked if the Academy takes personal history into account when determining eligibility.
“If it is, they can submit for consideration,” he continued, adding that a nomination doesn’t necessarily come with an invitation to the Jan. 31, 2022 event at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena (which will change its name from Staples Center on Christmas Day).
Manson (born Brian Warner) — who is facing numerous allegations and three lawsuits tied to alleged physical, emotional and sexual abuse on a number of former partners — was nominated twice for his contributions to Ye’s (formerly known as Kanye West) DONDA album; Manson has denied the allegations. The disgraced shock rocker’s name was included as part of the album of the year nom as well as his writing on the album track “Jail” (on which he is credited by his birth name) in the best rap song category.
“Marilyn Manson being nominated for a Grammy is a huge slap in the face for sexual assault and domestic abuse survivors,” tweeted author/poet Lauren Badillo Milici in response to the nominations. “I’m sad and tired.”
C.K.’s album, Sincerely Louis C.K., was nominated for best comedy album nearly five years after he was embroiled in a #MeToo scandal in which five women accused him of masturbating in front of them; C.K. issued a statement after the allegations were exposed in which he said “these stories are true” and said he wielded his power over the women “irresponsibly.” The once-powerful comedian has since returned to the stage, but drawn criticism for not explicitly addressing the backlash tied to his conduct.
“What we will control is our stages, our shows, our events, our red carpets. 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,” said Mason (Billboard reached out for additional comment). “But we’re not going to be in the business of restricting people from submitting their work for our voters to decide on.”
Other awards shows have faced similar quandaries about nominations for problematic artists. In the case of country singer Morgan Wallen, the singer earned two American Music Award nominations, but was not invited to attend the 2021 show; Morgan briefly dropped out of public view in February after a video emerged of the singer using a racial slur and he was not invited to the Nov. 10 Country Music Association awards, where he was also nominated. Notably, Wallen did not receive any 2022 Grammy nominations.
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