Rolling Stone magazine has issued a statement following the recent controversial comments made by its founder Jann Wenner.
The founder faced a wave of backlash last week after an interview for his new book titled The Masters saw him conduct discussions with seven “philosophers of rock”, all of whom were white and male.
These included Bono, Bob Dylan, the late Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, the late John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend, and when interviewed by David Marchese of The New York Times, Wenner stated:
“Joni [Mitchell] was not a philosopher of rock’n’roll. She didn’t, in my mind, meet that test. Not by her work, not by other interviews she did. The people I interviewed were the kind of philosophers of rock.”
He continued: “Of Black artists – you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as ‘masters’, the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level.”
The comments soon sparked widespread criticism and led to Wenner’s removal from the board of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, which he co-founded.
Now, Rolling Stone, which Wenner stopped working for in 2019, has issued a public statement following the comments. It also confirmed that his personal views do not reflect those of the company.
“Jann Wenner’s recent statements to the New York Times do not represent the values and practices of today’s Rolling Stone,” the statement on X read.
“Jann Wenner has not been directly involved in our operations since 2019. Our purpose, especially since his departure, has been to tell stories that reflect the diversity of voices and experiences that shape our world,” it added. “At Rolling Stone’s core is the understanding that music above all can bring us together, not divide us.”
Our statement on Jann Wenner's recent comments. pic.twitter.com/dL7lMSTP3k
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) September 18, 2023
Following his removal from the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, it was also reported that Wenner issued an apology for his comments during the interview with Marchese.
“In my interview with The New York Times I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius and impact of Black and women artists and I apologise wholeheartedly for those remarks,” he said.
“The Masters is a collection of interviews I’ve done over the years that seemed to me to best represent an idea of rock’n’roll’s impact on my world; they were not meant to represent the whole of music and its diverse and important originators but to reflect the high points of my career and interviews I felt illustrated the breadth and experience in that career.”
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