A group of female music executives is calling for the resignation of Record Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow following his bizarre statement.
Stepping Up Together
The move comes after Portnow's statement in the wake of the 2018 Grammy Awards wherein he told women in the music industry to "step up" if they're looking for better representation.
At this year's show, female artists only received 17 awards out of the 86 categories in the Grammys. In an open letter published in response to Portnow's statement, a group of more than 20 female music executives called out the CEO for being out of touch and offensive. The signatories broadly include talent agency executives, lawyers, and artist managers.
"Your most recent remarks do not constitute recognition of women's achievements, but rather a call for men to take action to 'welcome' women. We do not await your welcome into the fraternity. We do not have to sing louder, jump higher or be nicer to prove ourselves," the letter states.
The letter rallies against the current composition of Recording Academy members, which the signatories feel is disproportionately biased in favor of white men. Citing a recent study by the University of Southern California, the women argue that there isn't enough opportunity or influence in the music business to go around and that women and minorities are being left behind as a result.
Time's Up, Neil
"Your comments are another slap in the face to women, whether intended or not; whether taken out of context or not. Needless to say, if you are not part of the solution, then you must accept that YOU are part of the problem. Time's up, Neil," the letter continues.
An online petition was posted earlier this week calling for Portnow's resignation. So far, it has garnered more than 13,000 signatures. The Grammy Awards came under fire for neglecting to offer Lorde, the only woman nominated for Artist of the Year, a solo performing spot when her male colleagues were all given the opportunity to do so.
Likewise, only one woman took home a big prize on the awards night, Best New Artist winner Alessia Cara. The group criticized Portnow for blaming the lack of female representation on the women themselves. He later followed up with a statement claiming to have been taken out of context and pledging to recognize female artists more.
— Recording Academy (@RecordingAcad) February 2, 2018
Portnow subsequently announced on Thursday, that the Recording Academy would be establishing a task force to break down barriers impeding the advancement of female and minority artists in the industry.
There will also, reportedly, be significant changes to the Academy's voting structure, to make it fairer.