Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Former Grammy CEO Dismissed

Neil Portnow - Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Neil Portnow - Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

A federal judge dismissed a sexual assault lawsuit filed against CEO Neil Portnow in 2023 over a week after the Jane Doe accuser who filed the suit requested the dismissal.

The accuser’s allegations against Portnow first surfaced in January 2020 as part of his successor Deborah Dugan’s discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after she was ousted just over a week before the 62nd Grammy Awards.

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While Portnow called the sexual assault accusations “ludicrous and untrue” amid the Dugan lawsuit, the Jane Doe plaintiff — described only as a “foreign recording artist” — filed her own lawsuit against Portnow nearly three years later in November 2023, claiming he “drugged and sexually assaulted her in his hotel room in New York in June 2018” following a Grammy event.

However, the lawsuit was moved from a New York state court to a federal one, where Portnow’s legal team requested that the Jane Doe accuser be publicly identified, citing previous cases involving Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. With a judge’s decision over Jane Doe’s identity looming, she instead asked to dismiss the lawsuit entirely.

“The circumstances surrounding this case have created a genuine concern for my safety, and emotional well-being. Dismissing the case would alleviate this fear and allow me to move forward without unnecessary risks,” Jane Doe wrote in a letter to the judge obtained by Rolling Stone.

“In conclusion, unfortunately, I am unable to proceed with the case. The urgency due to the defendant’s motion and urgent court decisions and impending deadlines necessitate swift action. However, due to these serial traumatic events following my attorney’s withdrawal, and fear of potential grave harm as advised by the attorneys, it is impossible for me to proceed with the case in all aspects.”

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Portnow said the dismissal “confirm[s] what I have said over the past five years since the inception of these outrageous and damaging allegations: the claims against me were false and without merit. I look forward to moving on with my life and continuing to work on meaningful projects.”

Additionally, Jane Doe’s lawyer Jeff Anderson — who defended her right to protect her identity — asked to withdraw from the case, citing “irreconcilable differences” and that the “attorney-client relationship has deteriorated beyond repair” after she asked to dismiss the lawsuit without his knowledge.

“I kindly ask for your consideration in granting the voluntary dismissal without prejudice,” Doe’s letter to the judge continued. “As the plaintiff, I am not able to proceed with the case. I believe this course of action is in the best interest of all parties involved. I respectfully request that this court grant my motion to dismiss voluntarily without prejudice. I sincerely appreciate the court’s attention to this matter.”

This story was updated at 6:40 p.m. ET to note that the suit was officially dismissed, and to include a statement from Neil Portnow about the dismissal.

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