Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner has offered his apologies after saying that black and female musicians ‘aren’t articulate enough’ to be added to his book. The apology came on September 15 night, a few hours after the music writer was removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s board of directors.
In an interview with The New York Times — which was published online the night before, to promote his new book, ‘The Masters’; Wenner said he didn’t include interviews with Black and female musicians in his book because they aren’t “articulate” enough.
Following this, he issued a ‘wholehearted’ apology for his comments, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“In my interview with The New York Times, I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius, and impact of Black and women artists and I apologise wholeheartedly for those remarks,” he said in a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter.
“‘The Masters’ is a collection of interviews I’ve done over the years that seemed to me to best represent an idea of rock ‘n’ roll’s impact on my world; they were not meant to represent the whole of music and its diverse and important originators but to reflect the high points of my career and interviews I felt illustrated the breadth and experience in that career.”
“They don’t reflect my appreciation and admiration for myriad totemic, world-changing artists whose music and ideas I revere and will celebrate and promote as long as I live. I totally understand the inflammatory nature of badly chosen words and deeply apologise and accept the consequences.”
Wenner’s book features interviews with such rock legends as Bono, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend. However, it does not include any interviews with Black or female musicians.
Asked by The Times how he went on to choose the featured musicians, Wenner replied: “When I was referring to the zeitgeist, I was referring to Black performers, not to the female performers, OK? Just to get that accurate.
“The selection was not a deliberate selection. It was kind of intuitive over the years; it just fell together that way. The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them. Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level,” he concluded.
Not long after the story was published, many readers of the famed music magazine-including journalists, went on to criticise Wenner on social media for his comments.
After that, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (R&RHOF) announced Wenner’s removal from the board with a simple statement: “Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.”
Wenner led Rolling Stone for five decades before stepping away in 2019. He also is a co-founder of the R&RHOF.