Controversial interview remarks by Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner have led to his removal from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation board of directors.
The board administrates the selections for the Hall of Fame museum. The vote to remove Wenner had just one dissenter, reportedly Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau.
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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s goal is “to promote Roll & Roll music as a cultural aspect of modern life and society.” It is separate from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Wenner is a cofounder of the Foundation, which was started in 1983.
Wenner was removed from the board after a New York Times interview regarding his new book, The Masters, which features interviews with seven notable figures in rock music. The lineup includes Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Jerry Garcia and Pete Townsend.
Asked by the New York Times why he confined the book’s interviews to white males, Wenner said “it just fell together that way.”
He then said that none of the women he considered were “as articulate enough on this intellectual level.”
He added that the people he did interview were selected from his personal interests and love of them, and “were the kind of philosophers of rock.”
Wenner also used the “articulate” argument in his explanation on why he excluded Black artists.
“Of Black artists — you know, 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.”
Wenner has long been accused of cronyism in his former media company’s coverage of artists and in the Rock Hall of Fame selections.
Penske Media is the current owner of Rolling Stone, having purchased 51% of the magazine in 2017 and the remaining 49% in 2020.
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