The former head of the Grammy Awards has been accused in a new lawsuit of drugging and raping a female musician in a New York hotel.
Neil Portnow, 75, is accused of attacking the woman at the Kitano Hotel on Park Avenue, where she met him to interview him for a publication she had launched.
The unnamed woman is described as an instrumentalist from outside the United States, who once performed at Carnegie Hall.
Portnow has denied her claims, and said that it was in retaliation for his refusal to help her obtain residency in the U.S., and his refusal to pay her off.
The woman sued Portnow and the Recording Academy – the non-profit group behind the Grammys – in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Neil Portnow, 75, is pictured at the 2018 Grammy Awards in New York City. According to the suit filed in New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday, Portnow invited a musician to the 2018 event, and arranged to meet up with her later in the year, when he attacked her
Portnow is seen with Bill Clinton in January 2018 at a Radio City Music Hall event
The court documents were obtained by The New York Times.
She is accusing Portnow of sexual battery, and the academy of negligence, claiming that they ignored her complaint against Portnow.
Portnow stepped down in 2019, after managers declined to renew his contract.
He had sparked controversy at the height of the #MeToo movement by saying that women artists needed to ‘step up’ to get greater recognition.
Portnow’s successor, Deborah Dugan, was fired by the organization in March 2020 after less than a year.
She had accused the Academy of a cover up of the woman’s accusations.
The woman in 2018, several months after the alleged attack, emailed Grammy officials and said she had been sexually harassed by Portnow.
Portnow’s lawyer said that the Recording Academy investigated thoroughly and spoke to witnesses, but the accuser said she was never interviewed by anyone in relation to her complaint.
She later filed a police report naming Portnow, according to the suit.
The district attorney’s office declined to prosecute.
The woman said that she first met Portnow in January 2018, when the Grammy’s were held in New York City, at Madison Square Garden.
He invited her to the ceremony, she said, and he told her he would return to the city later that year.
Former Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan is seen during the 62nd Grammy Awards news conference in New York in November 2019. She was fired in March 2020
Portnow is pictured with Cardi B in January 2018
Portnow in June 2018 returned to New York City and stayed at the Kitano Hotel (pictured), on Park Avenue
The Kitano Hotel is known for its Japanese-inspired design
She asked to interview him then for a publication she had started.
Portnow returned to New York in June and told her to come to the Kitano Hotel, where he was staying.
Portnow, who became head of the Recording Academy in 2002, met the woman in the lobby and brought her to his room where he gave her some Grammy memorabilia and offered her a glass of wine.
He did not drink.
She said she ‘began to feel woozy,’ saying she could not focus and lost control of her body.
She asked about the wine, she claims, and Portnow ignored her question: when she asked to leave, he said there were no taxis available.
Portnow, according to the suit, told the woman: ‘I have been thinking about you for a very long time.’
Portnow is seen in January 2018 at the Grammys, held in Madison Square Garden
She says she then lost consciousness, but awoke several times to find him assaulting her, including ‘forcibly’ penetrating her, according to the suit.
The woman said she still felt woozy the next morning, and left the hotel when Portnow left to attend a meeting.
She said she was left ‘confused and conflicted given his prominence and stature in the music industry and the Recording Academy.’
Jeffrey R. Anderson, a lawyer for the woman told The New York Times that Portnow’s case was indicative of a broader problem in the recording industry.
‘Neil Portnow gives lip service to women as standing up,’ he said.
‘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 representative called the allegations false, and said they were ‘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 spokesman said ‘the latest incarnation’ of her accusations ‘offers a ‘new and improved’ story, padding it with even more outrageous and untrue allegations.’
The Recording Academy said in its own statement: ‘We continue to believe the claims to be without merit and intend to vigorously defend the Academy in this lawsuit.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk