Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine, was removed from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which he also helped found, one day after an interview with him was published in The New York Times in which he made comments that were widely criticized as… Sexist and racist.
The foundation — which inducted the artists into the Hall of Fame and was the organization behind its museum in Cleveland — made the announcement in a brief statement issued Saturday.
“Jan Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” the statement read. Joel Beresman, president and CEO of the foundation, declined further comment when reached by phone.
But Mr. Weiner’s dismissal comes after an interview with The Times, published on Friday, coincided with the publication of his new book, “The Masters,” which compiles his decades-long interviews with rock legends such as Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and John. Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Bono – all white and male.
In the interview, David Marchese of The Times asked Mr. Weiner, 77, why the book did not include any women or people of color.
Regarding the women, Mr. Weiner said, “None of them were articulate enough on that intellectual level,” and noted that Joni Mitchell “was not a rock ‘n’ roll philosopher.”
His answer about artists of color was less direct. “From black artists – you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right?” He said. “I suppose when you use a broad word like ‘masters,’ the mistake is in using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they didn’t talk at that level.”
Mr. Weiner’s comments sparked immediate backlash, with his quotes being mocked on social media and unearthings of previous criticism of Rolling Stone’s coverage of female artists under Mr. Weiner. Joe Hagan, who in 2017 wrote a harshly critical biography of Mr. Weiner called “Sticky Fingers,” cited the comment of the feminist critic Ellen Willis, who in 1970 called the magazine “Extremely misogynistic“.
In a statement issued late Saturday by a representative of Little, Brown and Company, his book’s publisher, Mr. Weiner said: “In my interview with The New York Times, I made comments that belittled the contributions, genius and influence of Black and Company. Female artists, I deeply apologize for those statements.
He continued: “‘The Masters’ is a collection of interviews I’ve conducted over the years, and seems to me to represent the best insight into the influence of rock ‘n’ roll on my world; it is not intended to represent the entirety of the music and its diverse and important creators but to reflect the high points of my career.” Professionalism and interviews which I felt demonstrated the breadth and expertise of that profession. They do not reflect my appreciation and admiration for the countless totem artists who are changing the world and whose music and ideas I respect and will celebrate and promote for the rest of my life. I fully understand the inflammatory nature of poorly chosen words and I deeply apologize and accept the consequences “.
Mr. Weiner founded Rolling Stone in 1967 with the music critic Ralph J. Gleason and made it the preeminent music magazine of the time, with in-depth coverage of rock music as well as politics and current events. Many of them were written by stars of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Hunter S. Thompson. Mr. Gleason died in 1975.
Mr. Weiner sold the magazine through a series of transactions in 2020, and officially left in 2019. Last year, he published a memoir, “Like a Rolling Stone.”
Mr. Weiner was also part of a group of music and media executives who established the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in 1983, inducting its first class in 1986; Its museum in Cleveland opened in 1995. So was Mr. Weiner himself Introduced in 2004 As a non-performer.
The Rock Hall has been criticized for the relatively small number of women and minority performers it has inducted over the years. According to one scientist, only by 2019 7.7 percent Among those present in the hall were women. But some critics have praised the recent changes, and the latest class of inductees includes Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow and Missy Elliott, along with George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine and The Spinners.
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