Why Bob Dylan Supports Dismissed Jann Wenner
via Bob Dylan/YouTube
At a recent concert in New York City, Bob Dylan, known for his sparse commentary between songs, took a moment to acknowledge the presence of Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone, who was recently ousted from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors.
“All right, l’d like to say hello to Jann Wenner, who’s in the house. Jann Wenner, surely everybody’s heard of him.
“Anyway, he just got booted out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – and we don’t think that’s right. We’re trying to get him back in.”
Wenner faced removal from the board in September following controversial remarks made to The New York Times about Black and female artists. In his recently published book, The Masters, Wenner featured interviews with iconic figures such as Dylan, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Jerry Garcia, Bono, and Bruce Springsteen. When questioned about the absence of women and Black artists in the book, Wenner stated that they “just didn’t articulate at the level” of their white male counterparts.
Recognizing the sensitivity of his words, Wenner wrote in an email to the Rock Hall’s board before his removal, “I understand how inflammatory these words appear, but it is not how I feel in my heart nor have acted in all my years founding and leading the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.” Only Jon Landau, Springsteen’s longtime manager, joined Wenner in voting to retain him on the board.
To date, Dylan is the only living artist featured in Wenner’s book to comment on the situation.
Criticism Surrounds Jann Wenner’s Controversial Remarks
Jann Wenner’s statements stirred criticism within the rock and roll community, with Bernie Taupin addressing the issue during his acceptance speech at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this month. Taupin noted:
“I guess you could say my induction is a paradox, perhaps.
“But either way, I’m honored to be part of the class of 2023 alongside profoundly ‘articulate’ women and outstanding ‘articulate’ Black artists, along with all the other music masters here tonight.”