Who is Jann Wenner? Why was he removed from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

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Who is Jann Wenner? Why was the American business magnate removed from the Roll and Roll Hall of Fame? Learn all there is to know.

Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine, has been removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s board after facing widespread criticism for comments he made in a New York Times interview published Friday about female and Black musicians. “Jann Wenner has been removed from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” a representative for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation told CNN in a statement on Sunday.

Jann Wenner
Jann Wenner

Wenner spoke with the Times about his upcoming book “The Masters,” which features interviews he conducted with artists such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and others while at the helm of Rolling Stone. What did Jann Wenner talk about in the interview? In the interview, he spoke about his decision to not include interviews with women and Black artists, and his remarks on the topic were widely criticized.

The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them,” he said, adding “Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.” He continued, “Stevie Wonder, genius, right? 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.” “For public relations sake, maybe I should have gone and found one Black and one woman artist to include here that didn’t measure up to that same historical standard, just to avert this kind of criticism,” he told the outlet.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned and I don’t give a (expletive) or whatever. I wish in retrospect I could have interviewed Marvin Gaye. Maybe he’d have been the guy. Maybe Otis Redding, had he lived, would have been the guy.” Through a spokesperson for Little, Brown and Company, publisher of “The Masters,” Wenner told CNN, “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.”

Jann Wenner
Jann Wenner

“‘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,” Wenner added. “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.”

When did Jann Wenner create Rolling Stone magazine?

Wenner founded Rolling Stone magazine with music critic Ralph J. Gleason in 1967 and put the legendary rock magazine up for sale in 2017.

Wenner was inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as an individual in 2004, and is a co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Multiple sources tell Variety that Wenner’s ejection came on Saturday after a heated emergency conference call with board members — including veteran executives Irving Azoff and Doug Morris, YouTube Music chief Lyor Cohen, CAA head of music Rob Light and longtime Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau — in which Wenner attempted to make his case but ended up angering them instead with a “bad apology,” as described by Billboard.

What has been said about Jann Wenner being ejected?

“He didn’t act sorry,” one source said. In the ensuing vote, sources say that only Landau — who launched his music career as a top Rolling Stone writer in the 1960s — did not vote to eject Wenner. Reps for several of the above execs did not respond to Variety‘s request for comment.

Jann Wenner
Jann Wenner

The comments came about after Times writer Dave Marchese asked why Wenner had not included any people of color or female musicians in “The Masters,” which features interviews with white, male musicians including Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend and U2’s Bono, all of whom Rolling Stone had long celebrated when it was under Wenner’s editorial direction.

Wenner stepped down from Rolling Stone in 2019, a few months after the publication was fully acquired by Penske Media Corporation. In December 2017, PMC acquired a controlling interest in Wenner Media, parent company of Rolling Stone, at a valuation just over $100 million, according to sources close to the transaction. He remains editorial director of Wenner Media. PMC is also the parent company of Variety.

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Edited by: Arnold