‘Rolling Stone’ co-founder Jann Wenner removed from R&R HOF board after controversial comments

Days after ‘Rolling Stone’ co-founder Jann Wenner’s controversial comments were published in a New York Times interview, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced the removal of Wenner from its board of directors, which he helped found in 1983. The hall said in a statement: “Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.”

The New York Times published an interview with Wenner regarding his forthcoming book, “The Masters,” which contains interviews with musicians — all white men — including Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Bono. When Wenner was asked why the book did not include interviews with women or people of color, Wenner is quoted as saying about the women of rock: “Just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.” In the interview he expressed similar thoughts regarding Black rock artists. Wenner said, according to the interview: “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.”

Wenner said that his selection of musicians for the book was “what I was interested in,” but acknowledged that there might be criticism of his choice: “You know, 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. Which, I get it. I had a chance to do that.”

After his removal from the Rock Hall Board of Directors, Wenner released a statement apologizing for his comments: “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.” Wenner said the forthcoming book, was “not meant to represent the whole of music and it’s diverse and important originators but to reflect the high points of my career and interviews I felt illustrated the breadth and experience in that career.”

Jann Wenner removed from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Board after interview

Editorial credit: Bill Ragan / Shutterstock.com

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