Recording Academy President Neil Portnow says his comments following the 60th annual Grammy Awards were taken out of context after he was criticized for saying women in the music industry need to "step up."
Portnow, in a statement Tuesday, says he regrettably used the words "step up" and that they were taken out of context and neither convey his beliefs nor the point he was trying to make. The show ended Sunday with only two female winners onstage. Lorde, the only woman nominated for album of the year, didn't perform.
"Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced," Portnow said. "We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor and empower them. Our community will be richer for it."
His initial comments after Sunday's awards show in New York angered some female musicians who felt his statements put the responsibility on women.
Pink, who performed on the Grammys, was nominated with three other women in the best pop solo performance category but lost to Ed Sheeran. She wrote on Twitter on Monday that "Women in music don't need to step up — Women have been stepping since the beginning of time."
Katy Perry also chimed in on Twitter to say, "We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it. I'm proud of ALL the women making incredible art in the face of continual resistance."
👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Another powerful woman, leading by example. We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it. I'm proud of ALL the women making incredible art in the face of continual resistance. ✊🏻— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) January 30, 2018
P.s VH1 Divas Live. https://t.co/RDmB7zRfId
Other female musicians took to Twitter to share their displeasure:
I wish the #Grammys would return to female/male categories. Who will young girls be inspired by to pick up a guitar and rock when most every category is filled with men? I'm not sure it is about women needing to “step up”, (as said by the male in charge). #GrammysSoMale https://t.co/v1rvbT3pCC— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) January 29, 2018
1/2: To put it on women not tapping into their creativity and not pushing for roles in the business of music such as producing, it seemingly comes off as sexist. It is a strangely insensitive thing to say, particularly at this juncture of women standing up for themselves... pic.twitter.com/Ji59acguNL— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) January 30, 2018
2/2: ...demanding equality and fairness. The lack of female representation is not about there not being enough quality coming from women in music, it’s about the fact that the opportunities for women to have a presence have been chopped in half. #GrammysSoMale— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) January 30, 2018
Neil’s comment was absurd. Female artists came HARD in 2017. But the nominees are selected by peers and their opinion of the music. Which means it’s a conversation about the standards of which the ENTIRE INDUSTRY expects women to uphold.— h (@halsey) January 30, 2018
I think it’s that every single woman in the entertainment business has stepped up again and again and been met with the door to the boys clubs cigar bar slammed in their face.— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) January 30, 2018
I don’t think any of us are saying male artists are undeserving of recognition and celebration too, but we women know what goes on behind the curtain and so that’s why that comment from Neil has the girls fuming.— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) January 30, 2018