BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Dick Clark Productions, which produces the American Music Awards, filed suit Wednesday against Michael Greene, president and chief executive officer of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, accusing Greene of implementing a black list preventing performers from appearing on both the AMA and the Grammies telecasts.
The suit asks for more than $10 million in damages.
Clark appeared visibly upset as he announced details of the lawsuit at a news conference in Beverly Hills.
"Unfortunately, this is what I characterize as a very disturbing announcement I have to make today," said Clark. "In the Academy's name, Mr. Greene has implemented a policy that prohibits musical artists from performing on the Grammy Awards and also performing on the American Music Awards."
Clark said that over the past several years, artists who have wanted to perform on both telecasts -- including Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, P. Diddy and Toni Braxton -- "have been precluded from doing so because of this arbitrary and unfair policy."
In papers filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Clark alleged that Spears withdrew from the American Music Awards show two years ago -- after his production company had announced her performance and built an elaborate set for her -- because Greene told her that she would not be able to appear on the Grammys telecast if she also did the AMA show.
Clark said he spoke to Greene following the incident, and that Greene said at the time that the "situation is indeed out of control." He said Greene promised him that "the blacklist policy would be terminated."
However, the suit alleges that as recently as last month, Greene caused Jackson to breach an oral contract with Clark to appear on the upcoming 29th Annual American Music Awards, to perform and to receive an Artist of the Century award. Clark accused Greene of "intentional interference" that will hurt the AMA's TV ratings and diminish the value of the Jan. 9 telecast.
"We feel that Mr. Greene's policy does not represent the best interests of recording artists, the recording industry, the majority of the Academy's members or obviously music fans," said Clark. "This policy penalizes the artists and deprives music lovers in the process. Fans are not allowed to see their favorite artists perform on what Mr. Greene has determined to be competitive programs."
Greene is the only defendant named in the suit, but court papers leave open the possibility of naming more defendants by including 10 "Does" -- fictitious names that effectively serve as place holders until other defendants are identified.
Although the suit indicates Jackson breached a contract to appear on the AMA, Clark said he is not taking any legal action against Jackson.
"I've known Michael Jackson since he was a kid," said Clark. "To have another party interfere with that friendship makes me very, very angry. This lawsuit is confined to C. Michael Greene."
Clark said he and Jackson will "stay friends forever, despite this bump in the road."
He said his problem with Greene goes beyond business considerations, and is now personal.
"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore," said Clark, borrowing the line made famous by newscaster Howard Beale in the Oscar-winning movie "Network."
The Recording Academy had no immediate comment to the lawsuit.