Tiffany Haddish was asked to host the 2021 Grammys pre-telecast ceremony, but she turned the gig down.
Why? As it turns out, the Recording Academy told her she’d have to foot the bill for everything.
Yes, you read that correctly. They not only wanted Haddish to do the three-hour livestreamed event without any compensation, but they also told her that everything else would come out of her own pocket as well. That includes the likes of hair, makeup, and wardrobe costs — all the things a celeb needs to look their best in front of a camera.
“All of that would have to come out of my pocket,” the comedy superstar told Variety. “I don’t know if this might mean I might not get nominated ever again, but I think it’s disrespectful.”
She continued, “I was like, ‘The exposure is amazing but I think I have enough. I appreciate you guys asking.’ And as much as I appreciate the honor of being nominated, that’s not okay.”
Haddish is, in fact, up for a Grammy this year. She received a nod for Best Comedy album for Netflix’s Black Mitzvah. She was nominated last year, too, for a spoken word project, The Last Black Unicorn.
A rep for the Recording Academy told Variety that it’s standard procedure for the pre-telecast talent to perform pro bono. It comes down to the event being hosted by the Academy itself, a not-for-profit organization. Apparently, all hosts, presenters, and performers have been traditionally doing the gigs for free — at least, according to the Recording Academy rep.
The rep also noted that this situation would not have any impact on future nominations for Haddish.
“This is something that needs to be addressed,” the comedian 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.”
I guess the Academy heard her criticisms loud and clear. Harvey Mason Jr., the Recording Academy interim president and CEO, hit up Instagram on Thursday, December 10 to apologize.
“It’s just been brought to my attention that the Recording Academy invited Tiffany Haddish to host this year’s Premiere ceremony,” he wrote. “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. To me, that was wrong. 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.”
He continued, “I’m part of the creative community. I know what that feels like, and it’s not right. Thankfully, Ms. Haddish was gracious enough to allow me to have a conversation with her.”
“I apologized to her personally, and I apologized to her from the Academy,” he told his followers. “I expressed her my regret and my displeasure about how this went down and how it was handled. Again, I want to say, Tiffany, we are sorry, and thank you for allowing me to speak on it.”