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If you were left thinking #GrammysSoMale after the 2018 ceremony, you were definitely not alone. It didn’t help that the Recording Academy president Neil Portnow handled the public outcry with sloppy comments about how women in music need to “step up” if they want to advance in the business. Vanessa Carlton, Pink, and Kelly Clarkson spoke out, and a group of talent managers and lawyers called for Portnow’s resignation.
On Monday, a group of six female music executives joined the group of dissenters and wrote a joint letter to the Recording Academy’s board of trustees, calling them “woefully out of touch with today’s music, the music business, and even more significantly, society.” The letter was signed by Michele Anthony, an executive vice president at the Universal Music Group; Jody Gerson, the chief executive of Universal’s publishing arm; Julie Greenwald, the co-chairman of Atlantic Records; Desiree Perez, the chief operating officer of Roc Nation; Julie Swidler, the general counsel of Sony Music; and Sylvia Rhone, the president of Epic Records.
The letter also calls on the Academy to become more transparent and inclusive. The women also made sure to reiterate that “Portnow’s comments are not a reflection of being ‘inarticulate’ in a single interview,” but “emblematic of inclusion issues across all demographics.”
Portnow did try to haplessly defend himself, though. The president issued the following statement in response: “We appreciate the points raised in this letter and welcome the opportunity to work with these executives to address the issues of inclusion, representation, fairness, and diversity in our community. As we establish the details around our recently announced task force, we will seek their input and guidance.”