Fiona Apple Talks Grammys Hypocrisy, Says She Considered Boycott Over Dr. Luke Nomination
Fiona Apple highlighted the hypocrisy she sees in the Grammys — especially when it comes to the way the awards show treats women — in a new interview with The Guardian.
While Apple wasn’t directly asked about the Grammys, she turned to the subject after applauding Taylor Swift’s efforts to re-record her old albums and effectively regain control of her masters. Apple then joked she had been worried about incurring the wrath of the Swifties if her latest album, Fetch the Bolt Cutters, were nominated for Album of the Year against Swift’s Folklore. (It wasn’t.) And while Apple slyly acknowledged that she probably shouldn’t be bringing up the Grammys, she hammered home the fact that Dr. Luke was quietly nominated for Record of the Year for producing Doja Cat’s “Say So” under the pseudonym Tyson Trax.
“They had [Kesha] up there singing ‘Praying’ and now they’re gonna go: ‘Oh, but it’s Tyson Trax!’” Apple said, alluding to Kesha’s 2018 Grammys performance of a song that’s believed to be about Dr. Luke’s alleged abuse toward her (Dr. Luke has denied the allegations repeatedly and is currently suing Kesha for defamation and breach of contract).
Along with the Dr. Luke nomination, Apple also brought up the dismissal of former Recording Academy President, Deborah Dugan. Dugan was ousted from her post months into her tenure and claimed the Grammys were still a boys club rife with corruption and that she was sexually harassed by the Recording Academy’s general counsel, Joel Katz (Katz and the Recording Academy have denied the allegations).
“I’m waiting to hear more about what Deborah Dugan has to say because that all reeks to me,” Apple said. “When you hire somebody and they raise questions and then they get fired? There’s a lot of things that she brought up that make it so that I can’t vet that situation and I don’t really wanna go there and support it.”
Apple is up for three Grammys this year, Best Alternative Album for Fetch the Bolt Cutters, and Best Rock Song and Rock Performance for “Shameika.” The Rock Performance category is particularly notable as it only features female performers, which Apple said she was initially excited about; she nearly sent a dedicated fansite a photo of her wearing a custom shirt with all the nominees’ names on it.
“But then I threw it away,” Apple said. “I felt like this is exactly what they want me to do: ‘It’s better now! I got nominated! And it’s all women this year and the Grammys are great!’ I keep going back to them putting Kesha on stage like, ‘We believe you’ — and I believe her — then two years later, fucking Tyson Trax. Not to go back to that word, but it’s bullshit. The feeling of wanting to celebrate with these women was genuine. But I should have that feeling anyway. I don’t know if anybody who’s nominated can help having the thought: What would I do If I won? My vision was that I would just get up there with a sledgehammer and I wouldn’t say anything, I would take the Grammy and smash it into enough pieces to share and I would invite all the ladies up. My second thought was I wonder if I can get all these ladies to boycott this shit because of Dr. Luke.”
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