Recording academy announces task force for gender balance

February 2, 2018
President of The Recording Academy Neil Portnow poses in the press room at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow said Thursday the organization is creating a task force to uncover unconscious biases and other barriers that impede women’s success in the music industry.

The announcement comes days after Portnow claimed his comments on women needing to “step up” in the music industry were taken out of context. The remarks have been criticized by several prominent musicians, including Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, India.Arie and Pink.

Portnow says in Thursday’s statement that he now understands the pain his “poor choice of words” after Sunday’s Grammy Awards has caused. He says while his comments aren’t indicative of his beliefs, they do reflect real women’s experiences in the industry.

He promised the Recording Academy would put itself “under a microscope and tackle whatever truths are revealed.”

“I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on” Portnow said.

Meanwhile, an online petition posted by singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton calling for Portnow’s resignation surpassed its goal of 10,000 signatures. More than 13,000 people had signed the document by Thursday evening.

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