Between Lorde not being allowed to perform her own material, the distinct lack of awards going to women, and Recording Academy president Neil Portnow’s stupid comments about women needing to “step up,” the Grammys haven’t been doing so hot on the whole “not being sexist” front lately. Today, a number of female executives signed an open letter calling for Portnow’s resignation, while, as Pitchfork reports, Portnow has announced plans to form an “independent task force” to address gender bias at the Grammys and in the music industry. “I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on,” he writes. “We as an organization, and I as its leader, pledge our commitment to doing that.” Read his full statement below.
After hearing from many friends and colleagues, I understand the hurt that my poor choice of words following last Sunday’s GRAMMY telecast has caused. I also now realize that it’s about more than just my words. Because those words, while not reflective of my beliefs, echo the real experience of too many women. I’d like to help make that right.
The Recording Academy is establishing an independent task force to review every aspect of what we do as an organization and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community. We will also place ourselves under a microscope and tackle whatever truths are revealed.
I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on. We as an organization, and I as its leader, pledge our commitment to doing that. We will share more information about the steps we are taking in the coming weeks.