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Grammys establishing a task force to investigate gender bias

Neil Portnow
Neil Portnow

Grammys/Recording Academy president Neil Portnow got in some hot water for comments he made that were posted in Variety where he was quoted saying women need “to step up” after the male-dominated winners at Sunday night’s awards. He issued a statement on Tuesday, saying, “Regrettably, I used two words, ‘step up,’ that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make.”  It was clearly not enough for some people — over 13,000 people have signed a petition asking him to step down from his position.

Portnow has now issued another statement, that also announces a new task force to look into gender bias at The Grammys and the Recording Academy (via Pitchfork):

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.

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