NEW YORK (AP) – Jann Wenner, He founded and co-founded Rolling Stone magazine Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, was removed from the hall’s board of directors after making comments that were seen as denigrating black and female musicians.
“Jann Wenner has been removed from the board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” the hall said Saturday, a day after Wenner’s comments were published in an interview with The New York Times.
A representative for Wenner, 77, did not immediately respond for comment.
Wenner sparked a firestorm by promoting his new book “The Masters,” which features interviews with musicians Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend and Bono of U2 – all white and masculine.
When asked why he didn’t interview any women or black musicians, Wenner replied, “It’s not that they’re inarticulate, but have an in-depth conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin.” Please be my guest. You know, Joni (Mitchell) wasn’t a rock ‘n’ roll philosopher. In my opinion, she failed that test,” he told the Times.
“From black artists – you know, Stevie Wonder, a genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as “master,” the mistake is in using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just couldn’t articulate themselves at that level,” Wenner said.
Wenner founded Rolling Stone in 1967 and served as editor or editorial director until 2019. He was a co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which was established in 1987.
In the interview, Wenner seemed to acknowledge that he would face backlash. “Just for publicity reasons, maybe I should have found a black artist and a female artist who didn’t meet that historical standard to avoid that kind of criticism.”
Last year, Rolling Stone magazine released its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, ranking Gaye’s “What’s Going On” at No. 1, Mitchell’s “Blue” at No. 3, Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” at No. 4, “Purple Rain ” by Prince and the Revolution at #8 and Ms. Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” at #10.
Rolling Stone’s niche in magazines was a result of Wenner’s outsized interests, a mix of authoritative music and culture reporting with rigorous investigative reporting.