Jann Wenner has been removed from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, the organization said in a statement to the Times on Saturday.
The statement did not give further details about the reasons for his dismissal. But it comes immediately after a controversial interview, published Friday in the New York Times, to promote Wenner’s upcoming book “The Masters,” a collection of interviews with prominent rock musicians from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s that includes only white men, such as Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Bono and Bruce Springsteen.
Journalist David Marchese asked Wenner why he had not included interviews with black musicians or women in the book.
“The selection was not a deliberate selection,” Wenner responded. “It was something intuitive over the years; It just all came together that way. People had to meet a couple of criteria, but it was just my personal interest and my love for them.”
When Marchese suggested that women like Madonna and Joni Mitchell might have had something interesting to say, Wenner claimed that “none of them were eloquent enough on this intellectual level.”
“It’s not that they aren’t creative geniuses. It’s not that they’re not articulate, even if you have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin,” she said. “Please be my guest. You know, Joni wasn’t a rock ‘n’ roll philosopher. In my opinion, she failed that test. Not because of her work, nor because of other interviews she did. The people I interviewed were the kind of rock philosophers.”
He also defended the exclusion of black artists such as Stevie Wonder. “I guess when you use a word as broad as ‘teachers,’ the mistake is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just weren’t articulate on that level.”
The interview went viral on Friday, prompting widespread criticism of Wenner and portraying him as embodying stereotypes about baby boomer self-absorption and entitlement.
Wenner, co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, declined to comment when contacted by The Times on Saturday.
Elsewhere in the New York Times article, Wenner defended controversial articles published during his tenure at Rolling Stone, including an article about a gang rape at the University of Virginia that turned out to be fabricated.