Phoebe Bridgers calls out the ex-president of the Recording Academy

“Rot in piss.”
February 6, 2024 11:42 a.m. EST
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Sunday night’s Grammy’s telecast proved that women are on top. Women took home all the top awards, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist.


Boygenius took home three Grammys during Sunday night’s ceremony, and bandleader Phoebe Bridgers also one a solo award for her collab with SZA, so when she got backstage to the waiting press scrum, she had some words to share about women dominating the charts and the awards. 


Top of her mind were the words of former Grammy president Neil Portnow, who stepped down in 2019 after he made comments about the lack of women in the top Grammy categories, saying that women need to “step up” if they want to be contenders. If you’re saying, “Um, what?” so was Bridgers, and she slammed him in her no-holds-barred words.



“I have something to say about women,” she began. “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.”


Rolling Stone reports that Portnow’s sexual violence allegations stem from a 2018 incident where an anonymous Jane Doe accuser claims he drugged and raped her. He’s now being sued by her in court, and the Recording Academy is named in that suit for their knowledge of the incident but refused to act. Five other women have since come forward, via Stereogum, asserting they had to sign NDAs to never reveal what they knew about sexual misconduct at the academy.


In 2018, Portnow’s full statement about women musicians came backstage at the awards ceremony when addressing the gender imbalance. “I think 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 an executive level," he stated. "(They need) to step up because I think they would be welcome."


Bridgers isn’t the first musician to slam both Portnow and the Grammys. In 2019, when Dua Lipa accepted her award for Best New Artist, she referenced his “step up” comments in her acceptance speech, saying, “I guess this year we really stepped up.”


In 2020, rapper Nicki Minaj went on a Twitter tirade against the Recording Academy, accusing them of racism.


In 2020, The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, who didn’t receive a single nomination in 2021, slammed the awards and the Recording Academy as “corrupt.”


In 2021, former One Directioner Zayn Malik flat out stated, “F**k the Grammy’s and everyone associated.”


So it would seem Bridgers probably has a lot of other musicians agreeing with her.

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