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Jann Wenner removed from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame board after controversial comments about black and female musicians

Jann Wenner removed from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame board after controversial comments about black and female musicians

A day after the publication of a New York Times interview in which Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner said that black and female musicians “were not articulate at the level” of the white musicians featured in his new book of interviews, The Rock and Roll. Hall of Fame announced that he has been removed from the board of directors.

“Jann Wenner has been removed from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” a terse statement from a representative reads in full; contacted by Variety, A representative of the Hall had no further comment.

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Wenner is a co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which was inaugurated in 1987, and served as its president until 2020. The Rock Hall Foundation and the museum have separate boards of directors, but Wenner was not on the latter board.

Wenner’s representatives did not immediately respond to VarietyRequests for comments.

The comments came after Times writer Dave Marchese asked why Wenner had not included people of color or female music in “The Masters,” which features interviews with white male musicians including Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend and U2’s Bono, all of whom Rolling Stone had long celebrated when it was under Wenner’s editorship.

“It’s not that they aren’t creative geniuses. It’s not that they aren’t articulate, even if you have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please be my guest. You know, Joni. [Mitchell] He was not a rock ‘n’ roll philosopher. In my opinion, she failed that test. Not because of her work, nor because of other interviews she did. The people I interviewed were the kind of rock philosophers,” Wenner said. “From black artists, you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I guess when you use a word as broad as “teachers,” the mistake is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just weren’t articulate on that level.

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“I mean, look what Pete Townshend was writing about, or Jagger, or any of them,” he continued. “It was profound stuff about a particular generation, a particular spirit and a particular attitude toward rock ‘n’ roll. “Not that the others weren’t, but these were the ones who could really articulate it.”

Wenner, who founded Rolling Stone in 1967 and was its editor or editorial director until 2019, added that he might have reconsidered his decision and “just for the sake of public relations, maybe he should have looked for a black and female artist to include here.” something that is not up to the same historical standard, just to avoid this type of criticism. Which, I understand. I had the opportunity to do that. Maybe I’m old fashioned and I don’t give a damn [expletive] or whatever. I wish, in retrospect, I could have interviewed Marvin Gaye. Maybe he would have been the guy. Maybe Otis Redding, if he had lived, would have been the one.” Not surprisingly, Wenner received a torrent of negative comments online after the interview was published.

In the interview, Wenner also made several controversial comments about his own editorial policies, admitting that he had allowed interviewees to edit transcripts of their interviews with him before publication, including an explosive 1970 interview with John Lennon.

Wenner left Rolling Stone in 2019, a few months after Penske Media Corporation acquired the entire publication. In December 2017, PMC acquired a majority stake in Wenner Media, Rolling Stone’s parent company, for a valuation of just over $100 million, according to sources close to the transaction. He remains editorial director of Wenner Media. PMC is also the parent company of Variety.



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