Grammy President Neil Portnow caused outrage when he told Variety that females should "step up" if they want to be "part of the [music] industry." And as you can probably imagine, the offensive suggestion prompted plenty of reactions from the likes of P!NK, Katy Perry, Halsey and more, especially after the 60th annual ceremony was intended to highlight gender equality.
First up, we have P!NK, who hit back at Portnow's tone-deaf remark in a handwritten letter. "Women in music don’t need to 'step up' — women have been stepping since the beginning of time," the pop star wrote in the note. "Stepping up, and also steppin aside. Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honor the talent and [accomplishments] of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair."
Katy Perry decided to back P!NK's sentiments, calling her a "power woman leading by example" and suggesting that they revive VH1 Divas Live. Meanwhile, Halsey chimed in on the scandal calling Neil's comments "absurd," while Charli XCX was a little more aggressive with her approach. "Woman are making AMAZING music right now," she tweeted. "WTF is this dude talking about?"
This all started when Portnow decided to speak on the #GrammysSoMale Twitter trend after The Recording Academy handed out all but one award to men during the televised Madison Square Garden event. "It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level," he said. "[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome."
On Tuesday morning (January 30), Portnow attempted damage control over the remark. "Sunday night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards," he said in a statement. "Regrettably, I used two words, 'step up' that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make."
Scroll on below to see some of the other clapbacks to Neil's controversial statement!
👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Another powerful woman, leading by example. We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it. I'm proud of ALL the women making incredible art in the face of continual resistance. ✊🏻— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) January 30, 2018
P.s VH1 Divas Live. https://t.co/RDmB7zRfId
Neil’s comment was absurd. Female artists came HARD in 2017. But the nominees are selected by peers and their opinion of the music. Which means it’s a conversation about the standards of which the ENTIRE INDUSTRY expects women to uphold.— h (@halsey) January 30, 2018
ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ????? https://t.co/EkijTA33QW— CHARLI XCX (@charli_xcx) January 29, 2018
😂 Or instead of being gracious and wearing white flowers on the carpet (bringing in the viewers for his telecast in designer gowns) women should consider if we NEED to take firmer action and stay at home in PJs next year... see how that works out for Neil. https://t.co/Qu3URie8ue— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) January 30, 2018
Well. At least the music industry is consistent across North America in putting the blame on women for not being nominated. https://t.co/wdaDorqZy0— Tegan and Sara (@teganandsara) January 29, 2018
I wish the #Grammys would return to female/male categories. Who will young girls be inspired by to pick up a guitar and rock when most every category is filled with men? I'm not sure it is about women needing to “step up”, (as said by the male in charge). #GrammysSoMale https://t.co/v1rvbT3pCC— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) January 29, 2018
I don’t really know what to say 😞 https://t.co/ygD5tkiXUT— #DECLINE (@raye) January 29, 2018
Photo: Getty Images