Neil Portnow takes back his controversial "Step Up" comments.
These days, if somebody makes a slightly controversial comment online, there stands a seventy-percent chance the person who makes said comment will apologize within the following forty-eight hours. Lo-and-behold, the pattern has once again proved correct. In case you missed it, Recording President Neil Portnow previously encouraged female artists to "step their game up," after being criticized over a lack of female Grammy Nominees.
To be fair, the quote quickly received full-on "headline" treatment, and seemed destined to create a full-fledged shitstorm, especially given the current cultural climate. For the record, the full quote can be seen here, courtesy of Variety:
"It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level… [They need] to step up because 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 an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists."
Today, Portnow has officially walked back on his statements, issuing an apology in the face of some intense backlash; Charli XCX wrote "ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ?????", while Pink went all out with an open letter of sorts.
Suffice it to say, Portnow was feeling the pressure. He opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about his comments, stating:
“Last 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.”
Or, to put it more succinctly: