Why was Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner removed from Rock & Roll Hall board?

Jann Wenner’s recent comments about Black and female artists have resulted in widespread criticism.

Jann Wenner speaks at the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Wenner was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and was a co-founder of the Rock Hall of Fame Foundation in 1983 [File: Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine, has been removed from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the United States.

The Cleveland-based museum and hall of fame released a brief statement about the decision a day after Wenner’s widely criticised comments about Black and female artists were published.

Here is what you need to know about Wenner’s removal:

What did Wenner say?

In an interview with The New York Times published on Friday, Wenner talked about his new book, The Masters, which is set to be released on September 26.

The book includes interviews conducted by Wenner with Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Jerry Garcia, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Bono and Pete Townshend.

All of the featured artists in The Masters are white men.

When asked why he did not include perspectives of Black and female artists, Wenner said his decision was based on his personal interest in the artists’ work.

“Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level,” he said.

Wenner, who co-founded Rolling Stone in 1967, added that he should have interviewed one woman and one Black artist for the public’s sake and to avert criticism despite them not measuring up to the standard.

His comments have been widely criticised as disparaging.

What was Wenner’s relationship with the hall of fame?

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame removed Wenner from its board of directors on Saturday.

Wenner was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. Twenty-one years earlier, he had co-founded the Rock Hall of Fame Foundation, which built the museum and chooses the inductees.

How has Wenner responded to the criticism?

Wenner issued an apology for his remarks on Saturday through a spokesperson for Little, Brown, and Company, the publisher of his book.

“I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius and impact of Black and women artists, and I apologise wholeheartedly for those remarks,” he said, adding that he acknowledges the inflammatory nature of the language used and accepts the consequences.

How has Rolling Stone responded?

Rolling Stone released a statement on X, formerly Twitter, about Wenner’s comments.

The tweet stated that Wenner has not been directly involved in the operations of the magazine since 2019.

The statement added that Wenner’s comments do not reflect the values of the American publication, which strives to promote diversity in music, especially since Wenner’s departure.

Source: News Agencies