Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers issued a scathing message to the former head of the Grammy Awards over past comments he made about female artists looking for recognition in the industry.
The 29-year-old indie rock musician, who came out ahead of the competition on Sunday with four Grammy wins, was asked backstage about the role of women in rock ‘n’ roll.
“I have something to say about women,” Bridgers replied, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The ex-president of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, said that if women want to be nominated and win Grammys that they should step up. He’s also being accused of sexual violence. And to him, I’d like to say I know you’re not dead yet, but when you are, rot in piss.”
Portnow, who led the Recording Academy and MusiCares from 2002 to 2019, faced backlash in 2018 when commenting on the lack of representation for women at the Grammys. Women only won 17 of the 86 at the time and just two of the female artists received their trophies during the televised ceremony.
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“I think it has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and their souls who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on an executive level, to step up because I think they would be welcome,” Portnow said.
“I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face, but I think it’s really a combination,” he added. “Us as an industry making the welcome mat very obvious, creating mentorships, creating opportunities not only for women but all people who want to be creative and really paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists who feel like they can do anything, they can say anything.”
His comments drew the attention of several female artists, including Pink, who posted a handwritten note on social media.
“Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ — women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this,” she wrote.
It was reported in November that a lawsuit was filed by a member of the Recording Academy in the New York State Supreme Court that accused Portnow of negligence.
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The woman, who was not named, said she met Portnow at a New York event in early 2018. She claimed that Portnow had invited her to his hotel later that summer and given her a glass of wine.
After she became “woozy” and asked to leave, Portnow allegedly claimed no taxis were available. The lawsuit claims the woman lost consciousness and woke up several times throughout the night as Portnow “forcibly” assaulted her.
A representative for Portnow labeled the lawsuit allegations “outrageous” and the “product of the plaintiff’s imagination.”
The accuser’s lawyer, Jeffrey R. Anderson, later responded.
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“He does a disservice to every woman and every musician who is being oppressed by him and others,” Anderson said. “This is not just about Neil Portnow and not just about the Recording Academy, but about the culture in the music and entertainment industry and its doublespeak about rape and abuse.”
Women dominated the 2024 Grammy Awards, with Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Victoria Monét and Billie Eilish taking home the four biggest awards.
Portnow and The Recording Academy did not return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.