Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner removed from Rock Hall leadership after controversial remarks

Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Jann Wenner has been removed from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after he made disparaging remarks about Black and female musicians.

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Wenner, 77, was a founding member of the organization.

“Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” the hall announced Saturday, a day after Wenner’s comments were published in a New York Times interview.

Wenner touched off a firestorm when he claimed in the interview that neither female nor Black musicians were articulate enough to be included in his new book “The Masters,” which features interviews with musicians Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend and U2′s Bono — all white and male.

“The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them,” he said, adding “Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.”

He continued, “Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as ‘masters,’ the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level.”

“For public relations sake, maybe I should have gone and found one Black and one woman artist to include here that didn’t measure up to that same historical standard, just to avert this kind of criticism,” he told the outlet. “Maybe I’m old-fashioned and I don’t give a (expletive) or whatever. I wish in retrospect I could have interviewed Marvin Gaye. Maybe he’d have been the guy. Maybe Otis Redding, had he lived, would have been the guy.”

On Saturday, Wenner apologized through his publisher, Little, Brown and Company, saying: “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.”

He added: “I totally understand the inflammatory nature and badly chosen words and deeply apologize and accept the consequences.”

Wenner co-founded Rolling Stone in 1967 and served as its editor or editorial director until 2019. He co-founded the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which was opened in 1987.

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