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TOP FEMALE EXECS CALL OUT PORTNOW, ACADEMY (UPDATE)

Six high-level female executives from each of the Big Three have co-signed a letter that slams Neil Portnow and the Recording Academy in the wake of post-Grammy upheaval topped off by the Academy topper’s instantly infamous “step up” post-show remarks. This missive—obtained by New York Times media reporter Ben Sisario—is the most significant critique of the Grammy brain trust since the telecast.

Putting their Jane Hancocks on the letter were UMG EVP Michele Anthony, UMPG Chairman/CEO Jody Gerson, Atlantic Chairman/COO Julie Greenwald, Roc Nation COO Desiree Perez, Epic President Sylvia Rhone and Sony Music EVP/General Counsel Julie Swidler.

While the six execs don't explicitly call on Portnow to resign, they criticize him and the Recording Academy for being "woefully out of touch with today’s music, the music business, and even more significantly, society.”

“Neil Portnow’s comments are not a reflection of being ‘inarticulate’ in a single interview,” the letter says in part. “They are, unfortunately, emblematic of a much larger issue with the NARAS organization as a whole on the broader set of inclusion issues across all demographics.”

According to Sisario, the letter calls on the Academy’s board to ensure a thorough review by the task force, and adds, “as senior music executives with true commitment to the welfare of the organization and the music community, we hereby put ourselves forward for service.”

Portnow issued the following statement in response: "We appreciate the points raised in this letter and welcome the opportunity to work with these executives to address the issues of inclusion, representation, fairness, and diversity in our community. As we establish the details around our recently announced task force, we will seek their input and guidance."

ARETHA FRANKLIN,
1942-2018
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