Following Sunday’s largely panned Grammy Awards, Neil Portnow, the president of the Recording Academy, has come under fire for comments he made backstage that some observers say reveal that he’s out of touch with the need for the awards to be more inclusive of women.
The New York Times reports that much of the criticism is focused on two words Portnow said, when he commented that women need to “step up.” More specifically, Portnow told reporters that “women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level” need to “step up.”
The remark fueled the criticism of the Grammys, adding momentum to the #GrammysSoMale movement that arose on social media in the wake of the ceremony.
The Times notes that the Grammys organization “has drawn rebukes from some of the most powerful women in music at a particularly fraught time, amid the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against harassment and professional inequality.”
The report notes that only one woman received a solo Grammy during Sunday’s ceremony.
“In a handwritten note posted to Twitter on Monday, the pop singer Pink, who performed on Sunday, wrote: ‘Women in music don’t need to “step up” — women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside,'” The Times reports. Pink added: “Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this.”
“Others even called for Mr. Portnow, who assumed his position in 2002, to step down, leading to its own hashtag,” The Times adds. “The rapper Iggy Azalea also raised the possibility of a Grammys boycott, writing on Twitter that ‘women should consider if we NEED to take firmer action and stay at home in PJs next year… see how that works out for Neil.’”