We Asked the Music Industry If Neil Portnow Should Be Fired. 50% Said No.

Despite what critics have demanded from the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow won’t resign anytime soon.  A lot people don’t actually want him too.

Iggy Azalea wants Neil Portnow to step down.  Pink, Halsey, Vanessa Carlton, other top female musicians, and six the most powerful women executives in the music industry feel the same way.  As do nearly 14,000 protestors who petitioned for Portnow’s resignation.

But elsewhere within the music industry itself, most people actually stand behind the beleaguered Recording Academy president.

Reflecting the organization’s sentiments, a poll conducted by Digital Music News found that 50% respondents stand behind Portnow.  They feel that he shouldn’t resign.  Underscoring a bitter divide in the music industry, however, 45% expressed that he should step down immediately.  The remaining 5% couldn’t decide what should happen to the beleaguered Grammys Chief.

Portnow may not have a lot friends among women in the music industry.  Male executives have also been critical, though few seem to be demanding his resignation.  Several weeks after Portnow’s much-maligned “step up” statement, a group 38 male executives penned an open letter  to the Grammys boss.

But instead asking him to step down, the group  asked the Recording Academy to “mirror the rich gender and cultural diversity our community.”  The male executives also pushed for the Grammys chief to make “necessary changes to the population” the organization.  These, they wrote, would help to better reflect the diverse voices that the Academy should represent and serve, not criticize.

The Recording Academy and Billboard have also signaled that they will stand behind Neil Portnow, despite his much-maligned comments.  This, however, may not put an end to a firestorm criticism calling for his resignation.

The Recording Academy has also stated in a public letter that female representation remains higher than the industry average.  Yet, it conceded that it hasn’t done enough to “reflect the community.”

“We must be leaders in moving our industry toward greater inclusion and representation.  Women are 50% our world.  We need their voice and presence at every level.”

A second, more-direct letter addressed the problems caused by Neil Portnow’s ill-chosen remarks.

Listing the senior positions that women have previously held, the Recording Academy stopped short calling for Portnow’s resignation.  Instead, it emphasized his commitment to addressing the problems female underrepresentation in the industry.


Featured image by Berklee College Music (YouTube screengrab)