Tiffany Haddish turned down a hosting gig with the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards set for Jan. 31, 2021, and now the Recording Academy is apologizing for what Haddish calls a “disrespectful” offer.
The comedian revealed in an interview with Variety Wednesday, Dec. 9, that she refused to take a job hosting the Grammys pre-telecast premiere ceremony after being informed that she would incur all expenses pertaining to the event — including hair, clothing and makeup — all while receiving no payment for her time.
“All of that would have to come out of my pocket,” she explained. “I don’t know if this might mean I might not get nominated ever again, but I think it’s disrespectful.”
Haddish is nominated for best comedy album for Netflix’s “Black Mitzvah” after receiving her first nomination in 2018 in the spoken word category for “The Last Black Unicorn.”
“I was like, ‘The exposure is amazing but I think I have enough. I appreciate you guys asking,’ ” Haddish said. “And as much as I appreciate the honor of being nominated, that’s not okay.”
Following Haddish’s grievances becoming public, a representative for the Recording Academy released a statement after being contacted by Variety. The statement read, “the Premiere Ceremony is not a CBS program and is hosted by the Academy — a not-for-profit organization — and that all hosts, presenters, and performers have traditionally performed gratis, including this year.” The representative also mentioned that the situation would not affect future nominations for Haddish.
Then on Thursday morning, Harvey Mason Jr., Recording Academy interim president and CEO, shared an Instagram video in which he apologized to Haddish. Mason said without his knowledge an academy talent booker told Haddish they wouldn’t cover the costs.
“To me, that was wrong,” he said. “I’m frustrated by that decision. It was a lapse in judgment. It was in poor taste, and it was disrespectful to the creative … I’m part of the creative community. I know what that feels like, and it’s not right.”
Mason said Haddish was “gracious enough to allow” him to speak with her, during an exchange in which he apologized to the star personally.
“I apologized to her personally and I apologized to her from the academy. I expressed to her my regret and my displeasure about how this went down and about how it was handled,” said Mason. “Again, I want to say, Tiffany, we are sorry and thank you for allowing me to speak on it.”
Haddish has not provided further comment, but remarked to Variety that her experience is something the Academy needs to evaluate in case similar incidents have occurred.
“This is something that needs to be addressed,” Haddish said. “How many other people have they done that to? It’s like a guy asking you on a date but telling you that you have to pay for it.”