Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Jann Wenner managed to roll his nearly six-decade music journalism legacy off a cliff over the the space of 24 hours because he decided that white men were the only people who mattered in the history of rock 'n' roll.
Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine, has been removed from the board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which he also helped found, one day after an interview with him was published in The New York Times in which he made comments that were widely criticized as sexist and racist.
The foundation — which inducts artists into the hall of fame and was the organization behind the creation of its affiliated museum in Cleveland — made the announcement in a brief statement released Saturday.
“Jann Wenner has been removed from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” the statement said. Joel Peresman, the president and chief executive of the foundation, declined to comment further when reached by phone.
But the dismissal of Mr. Wenner comes after an interview with The Times, published Friday and timed to the publication of his new book, called “The Masters,” which collects his decades of interviews with rock legends like Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Bono — all of them white and male.
In the interview, David Marchese of The Times asked Mr. Wenner, 77, why the book included no women or people of color.
Regarding women, Mr. Wenner said, “Just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level,” and remarked that Joni Mitchell “was not a philosopher of rock ’n’ roll.”
His answer about artists of color was less direct. “Of Black artists — you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right?” he said. “I suppose when you use a word as broad as ‘masters,’ the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level.”
Mr. Wenner’s comments drew an immediate reaction, with his quotes mocked on social media and past criticisms unearthed of Rolling Stone’s coverage of female artists under Mr. Wenner. Joe Hagan, who in 2017 wrote a harshly critical biography of Mr. Wenner, “Sticky Fingers,” cited a comment by the feminist critic Ellen Willis, who in 1970 called the magazine “viciously anti-woman.”
In a statement issued late Saturday by a representative for Little, Brown and Company, the publisher of his book, Mr. Wenner said: “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,” he continued, “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.”