Neil Portnow, president of The Recording Academy, issued a disappointing statement on Sunday. When asked about the lack of female representation at the Grammys, he said that female musicians and executives need to "step up." He continued, "I think they would be welcome. I don't have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it's upon us—us as in industry—to make the welcome mat very obvious."
The tone-deaf remark—particularly the "step up" part—caused an uproar, including responses from artists like Pink and Charli XCX. Today, Portnow has issued a second statement to Variety expressing some regret and explaining that out of context, his poor choice of words fail to communicate the point he was trying to make.
Read his new statement below:
“Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, ‘step up,’ that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make.
“Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it.
“I regret that I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.”