Tiffany Haddish says The Recording Academy asked her to host the Grammys pre-telecast for free

Tiffany Haddish says she declined an invitation to host the 2021 Grammy Awards pre-telecast ceremony after The Recording Academy asked her to MC the three-hour live-streamed event without pay.

In a Variety interview on Wednesday, the 41-year-old actress and comedian — who is nominated for her second Grammy for Best Comedy Album for her Netflix special, Black Mitzvah — opened up about why she declined the offer.

According to Haddish, she was expected to hand out over 70 awards and cover costs for her own hair, make-up and wardrobe for the entire event. 

“All of that would have to come out-of-pocket,” says Haddish. “I don’t know if this mean I might not get nominated again, but I think it’s disrespectful. This is something that needs to be addressed. How many other people have they done that to?” 

A spokesperson for the Recording Academy assured Variety that traditionally, hosts, presenters and performers in the past have taken the job without pay.  The spokesperson also said Haddish’s future nominations would not be impacted by her decision. The rep also noted that telecast is put on by the Academy, which is a non-profit organization.

Displeased with the matter, Recording Academy interim President Harvey Mason Jr. said in an Instagram video that he “personally” spoke to Haddish and apologized on behalf of himself and the Academy.

“Unfortunately and without me knowing, a talent booker working for the Academy told Ms. Haddish that we wouldn’t even cover her costs while she hosted this event for us,” said Mason. “To me that was wrong. I’m frustrated by that decision. It was a lapse in judgement. It was in poor taste and it was disrespectful.”

The 63rd Grammy Awards ceremony is scheduled to air on Jan. 31, 2021 on CBS.

By Rachel George
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