Jann Wenner Removed From Rock Hall Board After Interview Backlash
Jann Wenner, co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Rolling Stone magazine, has been removed from the Hall of Fame's board of directors one day after an interview including his controversial comments about female and Black artists was published.
“Jann Wenner has been removed from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” the Rock Hall said in a brief statement issued today.
In Friday's interview with The New York Times, Wenner explained that his new book Masters, which is centered on conversations with "extraordinary musicians who dominated rock 'n' roll," includes only white male rock stars because "none of [the women] were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.”
Addressing the lack of Black artists, he declared that they too "just didn’t articulate at that level." He continued, "You know, just for public relations sake, maybe I should have gone and found one Black and one woman artist to include here that didn’t measure up to that same historical standard, just to avert this kind of criticism."
His comments quickly ignited an angry firestorm of criticism, with Go-Go's bassist Kathy Valentine declaring Wenner a "vapid, self-important, self-appointed arbiter of what is deserving of attention in rock" in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
Earlier today the Montclair Literary Festival canceled Wenner's planned Sept. 28 appearance, at which he was to promote Masters. According to NJArts.net, the festival said the event was being canceled "for a few reasons."