Neil Portnow Clarifies His Controversial Women Need to 'Step Up' GRAMMYs Comments

Neil Portnow 2018 GRAMMYs
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS

Neil Portnow is addressing the controversy over his "step up" comments.

In response to the fallout generated by his post-GRAMMYs remarks regarding the lack of female winners, including from female artists such as Pink and Charli XCX, the Recording Academy President has issued a statement to ET clarifying what he meant when he said women "who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on the executive level -- to step up, because I think they would be welcome."

Here's his response in full:

"[Sunday] night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year's GRAMMY Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, 'step up,' that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make," Portnow said. "Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it."

"I regret that I wasn't as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought," he added. "I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone."

In addition to Portnow, GRAMMY producer Ken Ehrlich found himself in the hot seat due to the awards show's lack of female representation in general.

Alessia Cara, who won Best New Artist, was the only woman to win an award during the broadcast, and Lorde, the sole female Album of the Year nominee, was also the only nominee in the category not to be offered a solo performance slot.

"I don’t know if it was a mistake. These shows are a matter of choices. We have a box and it gets full," Ehrlich said regarding the Lorde snub. "She had a great album. There’s no way we can really deal with everybody."

Many critics of the producer's line of reasoning point to the fact that older male artists like Sting and Bono were given the stage at multiple times during the show.

Watch the video below for more on the controversy.


Pink Responds to GRAMMYs President Saying Women Need to 'Step Up': Ladies 'Owned Music This Year'

2018 GRAMMY Winners: The Complete List!

GRAMMYs President Defends Lack of Female Winners: 'They Need to Step Up'

Related Gallery