Grammys Apologize After Asking Tiffany Haddish To Host Without Compensation: ‘That’s Not OK’

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Written by Ann Brown
Tiffany Haddish
Grammys Apologize After Asking Tiffany Haddish To Host Without Compensation: ‘That’s Not OK’ Photo: Tiffany Haddish attends Tiffany Haddish’s “Black Mitzvah,” at the SLS Hotel, Dec. 3, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The Grammy Awards, which recognize achievements in the music industry, not only wanted actress-comedian Tiffany Haddish to work for free — they wanted her to pay for her own expenses.

Haddish said “no” to the odd deal and turned down the offer from the Recording Academy to host the Grammys pre-telecast ceremony.

Haddish, 41, was invited to host the live streamed event without any compensation, but the Academy informed her they wouldn’t cover hair, makeup or wardrobe for the three-hour show either. The 63rd Grammys is scheduled to air live on CBS Jan. 31, 2021.

“All of that would have to come out of my pocket,” Haddish told Variety, adding, “I don’t know if this might mean I might not get nominated ever again, but I think it’s disrespectful.”

Haddish has been nominated for her second Grammy for best comedy album for Netflix’s “Black Mitzvah.” She was nominated in 2018 for spoken word in “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 OK.”

The Recording Academy, which hosts the Grammy Awards ceremony is a nonprofit organization and all its hosts, presenters, and performers have traditionally performed for free, according to a spokesperson for the academy. The organization describes itself as “an American learned academy of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals.”

“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.”

Twitter was on Haddish’s side.

One user posted, “Yall asked a black woman..a well known black woman at that… to host a show that pulls RATINGS every time it airs…for free”

Another pointed out the irony of high-profile events seeking free talent. “All the people posting about the “gig” not ever being paid or similar acts like Super Bowl do it for the exposure is what’s wrong with the entertainment industry. Exposure doesn’t pay bills or compensate fairly for time, efforts, talent & experience.”

CaffeneNicotine was outraged. “The Grammys just went “chattel slavery” on a Black Woman. How dare you @RecordingAcad?? This is the racism they have all talked about in the Music industry and in Hollywood.”

Typically about 70 awards are handed out during the pre-telecast ceremony. English singer-songwriter Imogen Heap hosted the 2019 pre-show.

Since Haddish went public with the Grammys offer without compensation, the Academy has issued an apology to her, The Hill reported. 

“It’s just been brought to my attention that the Recording Academy invited Tiffany Haddish to host this year’s premiere ceremony,” Recording Academy interim President Harvey Mason Jr. said in an Instagram video posted Thursday. 

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

While Haddish is taking a stand today, she backed down two years ago.

In 2018, when fellow comedy star Mo’Nique’s called for a boycott of Netflix over “color and gender bias” in pay for stand-up specials, Haddish said she wouldn’t protest Netflix. “If you don’t like what they’re offering you, just no longer do business with them,” Haddish said at the time.

Netflix reportedly offered Mo’Nique $500,000 for a stand-up special. Mo’Nique countered that non-Black female comedians and Black males were offered more — such as Amy Schumer ($13 million) and Chris Rock ($40 million for two specials).

Haddish pointed out the number of diverse shows on the streaming platform, Business Insider reported. “What about all the Black shows that are on there?” Haddish asked. “What about all the other actors that are working on there? All the Indians, the Hispanics, the Asians. My show, ‘The Carmichael Show,’ airs on there right now. It ain’t on NBC.”

Haddish contradicted Mo’Nique, saying, “I’m looking at how (Netflix has) opened up so many opportunities for Black females and comedy. When my people are dying, that’s when you gonna catch me protesting. I’m not gonna protest because somebody got offered not the amount of money they wanted to get offered.”

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In July, a federal court judge ruled that Mo’Nique’s lawsuit against Netflix alleging race and gender discrimination could go forward and Netflix’s attempt to get it dismissed was denied.

The decision by U.S District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. notes that Mo’Nique raised a “novel theory,” arguing that Netflix’s alleged failure to negotiate an “opening offer” in good faith, as is customary in the industry, constitutes an “adverse employment action” for purposes of a retaliation claim, USA Today reported.