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Rolling Stone issues statement on founder Jann Wenner following racist and sexist remarks

Jann Wenner. Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images


Rolling Stone has issued a statement regarding its co-founder Jann Wenner after an interview with The New York Times Magazine went viral for racist and sexist remarks in which he implied that Black and female performers did not “meet criteria” of being “articulate enough” on an “intellectual level.”

“Jann Wenner’s recent statements to the New York Times do not represent the values and practices of today’s Rolling Stone,” the publication wrote on Twitter. “At Rolling Stone‘s core is the understanding that music above all can bring us together, not divide us.” See the full statement below.

Among the remarks made in the interview — including letting artists edit their own stories — Wenner clarified the statement in his forthcoming book that Black and female artists were not in “zeitgeist.”

“When I was referring to the zeitgeist, I was referring to Black performers, not to the female performers,” he said. “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 was shortly removed from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s board of directors and issued an apology given to The Hollywood Reporter. Read it in full.

“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 apologize wholeheartedly for those remarks. 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 apologize and accept the consequences.”

The FADER has reached out to Wenner’s publisher for comment.