When The Grammys released their 2022 nominations list, it was pretty par for the course. A bunch of safe picks, and occasional surprise or two, but nothing terribly out of the ordinary. However, hidden in the depths of the mammoth list hid two elements of major controversy.
What came to light pretty quickly were surprise nominations for two figures: musician Marilyn Manson and comedian Louis CK. Manson has been the subject of recent allegations regarding sexual abuse, while CK faced a number of allegations made against him back in 2017. Manson nabbed a nomination in Best Rap Song for his contributions to Kanye West’s ‘Jail’, and would be among the songwriters and producers honoured if Donda wins Album of the Year. CK received a nomination in Best Comedy Album for his comeback special Sincerely Louis CK.
Since the nominations were released, there has been criticism levelled towards the awards regarding the potential honouring of figures like Manson and CK. Today, The Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., responded to the criticism by saying that the committee does not take prior history into account when making nominations.
“We won’t restrict the people who can submit their material for consideration,” Mason Jr. told TheWrap. “We won’t look back at people’s history, we won’t look at their criminal record, we won’t look at anything other than the legality within our rules of, is this recording for this work eligible based on date and other criteria. If it is, they can submit for consideration.”
Adding: “What we will control is our stages, our shows, our events, our red carpets. We’ll take a look at anyone who is asking to be a part of that, asking to be in attendance, and we’ll make our decisions at that point. But we’re not going to be in the business of restricting people from submitting their work for our voters to decide on.”
The implication here is that figures like Manson and CK might not be invited to the ceremony to pick up their potential awards, but that the Academy will not restrict them within the course of the nomination process. That would make a potentially bad situation even more awkward if someone like CK did wind up winning his category and the stage remains empty, but I guess that’s a bridge we’d have to cross when we get there.
Check out the full list of Grammy nominations here.