Rolling Stone Co-founder Jann Wenner issued an apology following controversial comments he made about black musicians and women.
The apology came on Saturday evening, a few hours after the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its removal from his position on the board of directors.
In an interview with New York times – which was published online on Friday, to promote his new book, Gentlemen Weiner said he did not include interviews with black musicians and women in his book because they are not “visible” enough. He said on Saturday that he apologized “wholeheartedly” for his comments.
“In my interview with New York times, “I made comments that belittled the contributions, genius, and influence of black artists and women, and I deeply apologize for those comments,” he said. “Gentlemen It’s a collection of interviews I’ve done over the years that seem to me to give the best sense of the impact rock ‘n’ roll has had on my world; They are not intended to represent all of music and its diverse and important creators but to reflect the high points of my career and the interviews that I felt demonstrated breadth and experience in that profession. It does not reflect my appreciation and admiration for the countless world-changing totem artists whose music and ideas I respect and will celebrate and promote throughout my life. “I fully understand the inflammatory nature of the poorly chosen words and I sincerely apologize and accept the consequences.”
Weiner’s book includes interviews with rock legends such as Bono, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Pete Townshend. However, it does not include any interviews with black or female musicians.
Asked before times How did he choose the musicians to feature, Weiner replied: “When I was referring to the zeitgeist, I was referring to black performers, not female artists, okay? Just to get that accuracy. The choice was not a deliberate one. It’s kind of been a no-brainer over the years; They fell together like that. People had to meet some criteria, but that was just my kind of personal interest and love for them. As far as women were concerned, none of them were clear enough on this intellectual level.
times Reporter David Marchese, one-time online editor of Rolling Stoneretracted this claim by citing Joni Mitchell.
“It doesn’t mean they’re not creative geniuses,” Weiner replied. “That doesn’t mean they’re not clear, though. Go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please be my guest. You know, Johnny wasn’t a rock ‘n’ roll philosopher. In my opinion, you don’t pass that test.” “Not through her work, not through other interviews that she’s done. The people I interviewed were rock philosophers. Black artists – you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a broad word like ‘masters’ “The mistake is in using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they didn’t talk at that level.”
Weiner said he based his assertion on his own intuition and by reading interviews and listening to music.
“I mean, look at what Pete Townshend, or Jagger, or any of them was writing about,” he continued. “It was deep stuff about a certain generation, a certain spirit and a special attitude to rock ‘n’ roll. Not that others weren’t, but those were the ones who could really express it.”
Weiner went on to admit that he could have included a black male and female musician “just for the sake of PR” to avoid criticism.
“Maybe I should have gone and found one black artist and one female artist to include here, who aren’t up to the same historical standard, just to avoid that kind of criticism,” he said. “Which I get. I had the opportunity to do it. Maybe I’m old-fashioned and I don’t give a damn.” [expletive] Or whatever. I wish I could interview Marvin Gaye. Maybe he was the man. Maybe Otis Redding, had he been alive, would have been the man.
Shortly after the story was published on Friday, many readers — including journalists — criticized Weiner on social media for his comments.
On Saturday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced Weiner’s removal from the board of directors with the following simple statement: “Jan Weiner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.”
Winner drove Rolling Stone for five decades before stepping down in 2019. He is also one of the founders of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Julian Sancton contributed to this report.
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