Jann Wenner Removed from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Board


Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Jann Wenner was removed on Saturday from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which he co-founded. The ousting came one day after Wenner, who also co-founded Rolling Stone magazine, made widely-criticized comments about Black and female musicians in an interview with the New York Times. Wenner was speaking about his book The Masters, a collection of interviews with artists that he described as the “philosophers of rock.” (Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Jerry Garcia, Bono, and Bruce Springsteen are listed in the book’s full title.) When asked about the lack of women artists in the book, Wenner said he did not feel that any were “articulate enough on this intellectual level.” Similarly, he claimed that Black artists also “just didn’t articulate at that level.”

Per TMZ, this prompted current members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to vote on whether Wenner should lose his board status, with Jon Landau reportedly casting the only dissenting ballot. Hours after Wenner’s removal was announced, The Masters publisher Little, Brown and Company issued an apology statement to the Times on Wenner’s behalf. “In my interview with The New York Times I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius and impact of Black and women artists and I apologize wholeheartedly for those remarks,” the statement reads. “The Masters is a collection of interviews I’ve done over the years that seemed to me to best represent an idea of rock ’n’ roll’s impact on my world; they were not meant to represent the whole of music and its diverse and important originators but to reflect the high points of my career and interviews I felt illustrated the breadth and experience in that career.” He added that the comments do not reflect his “appreciation and admiration” for many “totemic, world-changing artists,” concluding, “I totally understand the inflammatory nature of badly chosen words and deeply apologize and accept the consequences.”

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