Recording Academy President Neil Portnow is still spinning his controversial ‘step up’ statement demeaning women in the music industry. But, why hasn’t he simply apologized?
Following last Sunday’s Grammy Awards, Neil Portnow made some rather poor comments. In an interview after the show, the Recording Academy President implied that women hadn’t done more to earn recognition.
According to Portnow, because only a few had won top awards that evening, women needed to “step up.”
Major female artists, business managers, and top executives in the music industry immediately condemned the comments. Calling the comments absurd, they said that Portnow had shown a complete disregard for women’s contributions in the industry.
The Recording Academy President, however, refused to backtrack on his comments. Instead issuing an apology, he merely stated that people had misconstrued the phrase “step up.”
In an attempt to fix the disastrous situation (again, instead merely apologizing), Portnow announced a new initiative. The Recording Academy has created an independent Grammys task force to reportedly address biases against women. With the Recording Academy board standing behind Portnow’s controversial statement, he wrote,
“We can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community.”
Music fans, however, have yet to buy Portnow’s efforts. A petition created on Care2 days ago surpassed its original goal 10,000 signatures. Now, with major stars backing the initiative, it has nearly crossed the 14,000 mark.
In response to Portnow’s comments, top music industry figures have also issued an open letter to Neil Portnow. Signed by over a dozen female execs, the letter reads,
“We step up every single day and have been doing so for a long time. The fact that you don’t realize this means it’s time for you to step down.”
Portnow has yet to comment on this letter and the online petition demanding his resignation.
Featured image by Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (YouTube screengrab)