Jann Wenner, the left-wing founder of Rolling Stone magazine, insulted black and women musical artists in an interview with the New York Times — and as a result, the board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which Wenner also helped launch, kicked him out.
What are the details?
Wenner was doing publicity for his new book, “The Masters,” which features interviews with iconic musicians Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend, Jerry Garcia, and Bono — all white men, the Associated Press reported.
Asked in a Friday interview with the New York Times why he didn’t include women or black artists in his book, Wenner replied, “It’s not that they’re inarticulate, although, go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please, be my guest. You know, Joni [Mitchell] was not a philosopher of rock ’n’ roll. She didn’t, in my mind, meet that test,” the AP said.
Wenner added, “Of black artists — you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as ‘masters,’ the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level,” the AP reported.
What’s more, the AP said Wenner in the Times interview appeared to concede that he’d face backlash for his homogenous book subjects: “Just for public relations’ sake, maybe I should have gone and found one black and one woman artist to include here that didn’t measure up to that same historical standard, just to avert this kind of criticism.”
On Saturday, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced that Wenner “has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” the AP said.
Stereogum, citing a report from Billboard, said Wenner was given a chance to explain himself to the board during an emergency conference call Saturday, but multiple board members didn’t accept what a source characterized as a “bad apology.” All the board members — except for Bruce Springsteen manager and former Rolling Stone writer Jon Landau — voted to remove Wenner from the board, Stereogum said.
The AP said Wenner late Saturday apologized through his publisher, Little, Brown and Company: “In my interview with The New York Times I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius and impact of black and women artists, and I apologize wholeheartedly for those remarks.” The outlet said he added, “I totally understand the inflammatory nature and badly chosen words and deeply apologize and accept the consequences.”
That ain’t all
Awful Announcing reported that Wenner in the Times interview also talked about Rolling Stone’s infamous 2014 University of Virginia story “A Rape on Campus” — which included a false rape accusation — saying that “other than this one key fact that the rape described actually was a fabrication of this woman, the rest of the story was bulletproof.”
In addition, Wenner also said in his Times interview that he allowed interviewees to read and edit their interviews before publication so they have a chance at “clarifying what they want to say,” Awful Announcing also said.
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