Tiffany Haddish has a message for the Recording Academy: when she does a job, she expects to get paid.
In a recent interview with Variety, the comedian revealed she received a high-profile offer to host the 2021 Grammys Premiere Ceremony, but turned it down on a matter of principle.
According to Haddish, not only was she expected to work without compensation, she would also be covering he own hair, makeup and wardrobe expenses.
“All of that would have to come out of my pocket. I don’t know if this might mean I might not get nominated ever again, but I think it’s disrespectful,” she said.
“I was like, ‘The exposure is amazing but I think I have enough. I appreciate you guys asking,’” continued Haddish, who received a 2019 for best spoken word album for her book The Last Black Unicorn, and is up for an award at the 2021 ceremony for her comedy album Black Mitzvah. “And as much as I appreciate the honour of being nominated, that’s not okay.”
According to Haddish, “This is something that needs to be addressed. 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.”
A rep for the Recording Academy told Variety that the Premiere Ceremony is not part of the official televised ceremony and is hosted the Academy — a not-for-profit organization; as a result, hosts, performers and presenters at the event are traditionally unpaid.
The Recording Academy’s interim chief Harvey Mason Jr. has since responded to Haddish’s claims and issued an apology.
“It’s just been brought to my attention that the Recording Academy invited Tiffany Haddish to host this year’s Premiere ceremony,” Mason said. “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,” he added. “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 says he’s also apologized to Haddish personally. “Thankfully, Ms. Haddish was gracious enough to allow me to have a conversation with her. I apologized to her personally, I apologized from the Academy, and I expressed to her my regret and my displeasure about how this went down and how it was handled,” he explained. “And I will say, Tiffany, we are sorry and thank you for allowing me to speak on it.”
In addition, the rep also insisted that Haddish’s statements would have no bearing on her future award nominations.