“You know, just for the sake of public relations,” he continued, “maybe I should have gone and found a black and a female artist to include here who doesn’t hold up to the same historical standard, just kind of. criticism to stop the situation. Which, I get it. I got the chance to do that. Maybe I’m old-fashioned and I don’t give a [expletive] or whatever.”
Those comments immediately sparked a firestorm on social media. Just as quickly, worried phone calls and emails began circulating among the 31 board members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which includes music and media executives, finance players and star performers including Pharrell Williams and LL Cool J. The foundation, created in 1983, selects the artists to be inducted, and is affiliated with the museum in Cleveland.)
Troy Carter, a former Spotify executive and adviser to the Prince estate, told Weiner in an email to the board, “Your words risk undermining the institution you helped create by propagating a narrative that is not only narrow But also exclusionary.” members who were obtained by the Times.
Interviews with four people with direct knowledge of the board vote, who spoke anonymously because the panel’s deliberations are confidential, paint a picture of the urgency and anger inside the institution.
While board members felt personally shocked by Wenner’s comments, they were also concerned about the impact on the Hall and its important relationship with artists – some of whom had already begun complaining. One message came from Elton John’s longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, who is set to receive the Musical Excellence Award at this year’s ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 3. His wife and manager, Heather Taupin, sent an email to Hall officials, calling Weiner’s comments “a slap in the face” to those involved and saying, “We feel strongly that he should resign immediately. “
Although the Hall oversees the voting that selects winners, delicate diplomacy often takes place behind the scenes to ensure that artists will accept honors and appear on its annual induction TV show. This year’s honorees include Kate Bush, Missy Elliot, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Rage Against the Machine, The Spinners and George Michael, who died in 2016.