Recording Academy interim chief Harvey Mason, Jr. has had to make a number of statements since the 2021 Grammy nominees were announced a couple weeks ago, ranging from “No, we didn’t not snub The Weeknd as some weird punishment” to a rather polite “Justin Bieber’s album is a pop song, despite what he thinks.” His latest message, however, comes with a far more apologetic tone, and rightfully so.
On Thursday morning, Mason took to Instagram to address an issue that actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish raised about an invite she had received to host the music award show’s pre-telecast. Haddish, who is nominated this year for her comedy special Black Mitzvah, told Variety that she ultimately turned the offer down after the organization informed her that she would have to host the three-hour event without compensation. Furthermore, any relevant expenses—hair, makeup, etc.—would not be covered. “All of that would have to come out of my pocket,” she said, adding, “I don’t know if this might mean I might not get nominated ever again, but I think it’s disrespectful.” Though a Recording Academy rep did later claim that the non-CBS event has always been financially covered by the host (because the Recording Academy is a non-profit organization), Mason agreed that the request was in poor taste.
“It’s just been brought to my attention that the Recording Academy invited Tiffany Haddish to host this year’s Premiere ceremony,” said Mason said in a brief video. “Unfortunately and without my knowing, the talent booker working for the Academy told Ms. Haddish that we wouldn’t even cover her costs while she hosted this event for us. To me that was wrong,”
Mason continued: “I’m frustrated by that decision. It was a lapse in judgment, it was in poor taste, and it was disrespectful to the creative community. I’m part of the creative community and I know what that feels like, and it’s not right.” Mason, who is a longtime songwriter and producer, went on to share that he had already privately spoken to Haddish and apologized to her directly. He concluded, “Again I want to say, Tiffany, that we are sorry and thank you for allowing me to speak on it.”
Haddish has not responded publicly to the apology as of yet, nor has The Recording Academy shared whether they plan on rectifying the issue and offering her proper compensation or going in a different direction altogether.