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Neil Portnow: Academy To Create Task Force For Gender Balance

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) Recording Academy President Neil Portnow is stepping up and creating a task force for gender balance.

“The Recording Academy is establishing an independent task force to review every aspect of what we do as an organization … to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community,” Portnow announced Feb. 2.

After music had its “biggest evening,” as its called, and the Grammys acknowledged social issues like the #MeToo movement and immigration policy, the awards show was accused of being too male-centric. By the next morning, Jan. 29, the Recording Academy was met with the angry hashtag #GrammysSoMale. Show producer Ken Erlich and Recording Academy chief Portnow were hit with questions, and Portnow unfortunately said women needed to “step up” for next year’s show.

That remark was criticized by acts like Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, India.Arie and Pink, and a petition was formed to have Portnow step down. He said Thursday that he understands the pain his “poor choice of words” has caused and they were not indicative of his beliefs.

“I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed in our industry, and share in the urgency to attack it head on,” Portnow said, according to the Associated Press.

The petition, started by Vanessa Carlton, had a goal of 10,000 signatures and at press time had around 13,000.