Grammys Boss Neil Portnow Announces Task Force to Address Gender Bias


The Recording Academy officials have set up a task force to overcome “unconscious biases” that may be preventing female artists from achieving the same recognition as men at the Grammys.

The organization behind the annual ceremony came under fire on Sunday night (28Jan18) after Alessia Cara was the only female to win any of the major awards, and their president Neil Portnow caused backlash by suggesting that female artists need to “step up” their game to compete with the male nominees.

Many stars, including Halsey and Charli XCX, came out to condemn his comments, which he later insisted were taken out of context, and an online petition was created calling for his resignation.

However, on Thursday (01Feb18), Portnow issued a letter announcing that the organization is setting up a task force to address the issue.

“I understand the hurt that my poor choice of words following last Sunday’s GRAMMY telecast has caused,” he wrote. “I also now realize that it’s about more than just my words. Because those words, while not reflective of my beliefs, echo the real experience of too many women. I’d like to help make that right.

“The Recording Academy is establishing an independent task force to review every aspect of what we do as an organization and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community.”

Portnow continued to explain that the organization would be placed under a microscope and they would tackle whatever truths are discovered.

“I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on. We as an organization, and I as its leader, pledge our commitment to doing that,” he concluded.

His comments came shortly after a group of female music industry executives wrote an open letter calling for his resignation over the “step up” remarks.