Grammys CEO Neil Portnow’s comment after men won all but one major category at the ceremony this year sparked controversy.
He infamously told Variety:
“[Women artists need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.
“I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face. But I think it’s upon us — us as an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious. Breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists.”
After receiving immense backlash for his comments, he wrote a statement expressing regret for his choice of words:
“Last night, I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation… of this year’s Grammy Awards. 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.”
She wrote on Twitter:
“Attention everyone, especially musicians: Step up. And sign the petition to have Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy/Grammy’s, to step down. We are close to our goal of 10000 votes. Pass along.”
Attention everyone, especially musicians: Step up. And sign the petition to have Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy/Grammy's, to step down. We are close to our goal of 10000 votes. Pass along. https://t.co/GGOY95eUhy
— V a n e s s a C a r l t o n (@VanessaCarlton) January 31, 2018
The petition quickly reached its initial 10,000 signature goal and has now been extended to 13,000.
Carlton told Vulture:
“We’ve all been in the industry a really long time and it was incredibly inappropriate for someone in that position to make a statement like that, including his backpedalling. His head is completely in the wrong place. That’s why I’m stepping up in a way now that I have not in the past.”