Milli Vanilli to forfeit Grammy award in wake of scandal

November 19, 1990|By Chuck Philips | Chuck Philips,Los Angeles Times

MILLI VANILLI'S Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan intend to give back their 1989 best new artist Grammy to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences at a press conference in Hollywood tomorrow.

"We know that we were involved in something that was wrong," Morvan told the Los Angeles Times over the weekend.

"Fabrice and I want to give the Grammy back to the real singers," Pilatus said.

Questions about whether Milli Vanilli's Grammy should be revoked arose last week after the duo's German-based producer, Frank Farian, fired them and announced that Pilatus and Morvan -- known respectively as Rob and Fab -- did not sing on their "Girl, You Know It's True" album, which has sold an estimated 7 million copies.

The Grammy is considered to be a symbol of artistic excellence. Each year, 10,000 entries may be scrutinized for consideration, and winners are selected by approximately 6,000 voting members of the academy. The voting membership comprises a broad spectrum of singers, musicians, producers, engineers, songwriters, conductors and other creative figures in the recording industry.

Members of the academy base their voting decisions on the album credits provided by record companies. Morvan and Pilatus allege that top officials at Arista Records and the German conglomerate Bertelsmann Music Group were aware of the false album credits prior to their Grammy nomination.

"When it's fraudulent or falsified in any way," said Mike Greene, president of the National Academy at a press conference in Las Vegas on Friday, "it's difficult for us to feel that the way our members went about voting was informed."

The academy's awards subcommittee is scheduled to meet Dec. 5 in New York to discuss revoking the award. The board of trustees is slated to meet later that month to make a final decision.

No artist in the 33-year history of the Grammys has ever been forced to give back an award. If the academy did decide to strip Milli Vanilli of the honor, Greene said the organization would probably opt not to choose a replacement winner.

Morvan and Pilatus said Saturday they hoped the award would be given to vocalists Johnny Davis, Brad Howell and Charles Shaw, who allegedly performed the vocal chores on the Milli album.

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