It was one of the most memorable quotes of the evening during last Sunday's Grammy Awards and it wasn't even in an acceptance speech. When Grammys president Neil Portnow told women in the industry they need to "step up" in the future, the backlash was immediate. Though he predictably apologized shortly after, the damaging comment won't soon be forgotten.
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Now, Portnow is introducing a new plan for an independent group to grapple with the biases that face women within the Grammys, writing in a statement:
"After hearing from many friends and colleagues, I understand the hurt that my poor choice of words following last Sunday's GRAMMY telecast has caused. I also now realize that it's about more than just my words. Because those words, while not reflective of my beliefs, echo the real experience of too many women. I'd like to help make that right.
The Recording Academy is establishing an independent task force to review every aspect of what we do as an organization and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community. We will also place ourselves under a microscope and tackle whatever truths are revealed.
I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on. We as an organization, and I as its leader, pledge our commitment to doing that. We will share more information about the steps we are taking in the coming weeks."
But Portnow's attempted repentance may be too little too late. Many female executives within the music industry are calling for him to resign, and artists like Pink and Charli XCX have criticized the president.