Removal Of Jann Wenner from Rock Hall Of Fame Only Took 20 Minutes
via TODAY / Youtube
The removal of Jann Wenner from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame happened remarkably quickly, reportedly taking only 20 minutes.
The New York Times has provided insights into the events leading to his ousting. In a conversation published on September 15, Wenner made controversial remarks, stating that female and Black artists were not suitable for inclusion in his book, Masters, because they lacked the necessary intellectual articulation.
He acknowledged the possibility of including one Black and one woman artist to avoid criticism but expressed reluctance, indicating his old-fashioned perspective.
These comments immediately sparked outrage among the leaders of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Wenner had co-founded the institution in 1983 and served as its chairman until 2020, retaining a position on the board of directors until an emergency vote was called on September 16.
Jann Wenner Only Gets Two Votes of Support
Wenner sent an email to board members before the vote, expressing regret for his inflammatory words but insisting they did not reflect his true feelings or his actions during his years of involvement with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However, this did not change the minds of many board members.
Troy Carter, a former Spotify executive, voiced his concerns in an email to the board, suggesting:
“Your words run the risk of undermining the very institution you helped build by propagating a narrative that isn’t just narrow but also exclusionary.”
The decision to remove Wenner was made during a 20-minute conference call and vote. While the names of those participating in the decision have not been disclosed, it is known that only two people voted to retain him: Wenner himself and Jon Landau, Bruce Springsteen’s manager and a former Rolling Stone writer.
Artists Speak Out Against Wenner’s Sexist, Racist Remarks
Following Wenner’s removal from the board, Jon Landau emphasized that Wenner’s statements were indefensible and contrary to the values of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He explained that his vote to keep Wenner was a gesture of acknowledgment for his role in creating the institution.
Many prominent musicians have criticized Wenner’s comments since the initial interview was published. Living Colour expressed their disappointment, describing his remarks as “an insult to those of us who sit at the feet of these overlooked geniuses. To hear that he believes Stevie Wonder isn’t articulate enough to express his thoughts on any given subject is quite frankly, insulting. To hear that Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Tina Turner, or any of the many Woman artists that he chooses not to mention, are not worthy of the status of ‘Master,’ smacks of sexist gatekeeping, and exclusionary behavior.”
Singer-songwriter Janis Ian shared her disappointment, saying on Facebook:
“Gee, guess I was never articulate enough for Jann. Guess [Joan] Baez wasn’t. Certainly, Liz Phair, Dolly Parton have no way with words.”
The Grammy-winning artist also mentioned that she had heard rumors of Wenner’s mistreatment of women in the industry for quite some time. She suggested that perhaps financial interests and the desire to fit in with male peers were more important to him.