HITS Daily Double


Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner was removed from the board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, on 9/16. Word is the vote was nearly unanimous. Wenner was part of the original team assembled by Ahmet Ertegun in 1983 to launch the Rock Hall and for a time led the institution, often sparking controversy.

The dismissal came in the wake of a 9/15 New York Times interview with Wenner about his soon-to-be-published book The Masters, whose subjects are exclusively white males. Wenner has frequently put his foot in his mouth since his 2019 retirement, but he hit a new low when he explained to interviewer David Marchese why he’d ruled out Black and female artists.

“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 articulate enough on this intellectual level,” Wenner said. He then cited Grace Slick and Janis Joplin as examples and insisted that Joni Mitchell “did not meet the test.”

Then he doubled down. “Of Black artists—you know, 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.”

The fallout was immediate, outrage spreading across social media like a tsunami.

Wenner issued an apology on 9/16 through his publisher, Little, Brown and Company, saying: “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. I totally understand the inflammatory nature and badly chosen words and deeply apologize and accept the consequences.”

It was too little too late. We applaud the Rock Hall's swift move to eliminate this once-respected pundit from its hierarchy.