The organisers behind the Grammys have said they are taking action to combat bias against women, following a backlash over this year’s awards.
During Sunday’s (28 January) ceremony, only two women were seen collecting awards, one of which was for a feature on another artist’s track, while the decision to award Best Pop Solo Performance to Ed Sheeran over the four female artists he was nominated against was received poorly by viewers.
While Grammys chief Neil Portnow initially addressed the controversy by saying women needed to “step up” if they want to win awards, he has now issued a statement expressing regret over his “poor choice of words”.
He said: “I also now realise that it’s about more than just my words. Because those words, while not reflective of my beliefs, echo the real experience of too many women. I’d like to help make that right.”
Neil continued: “The Recording Academy is establishing an independent task force to review every aspect of what we do as an organisation and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community.
“We will also place ourselves under a microscope and tackle whatever truths are revealed.
“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. We as an organisation, and I as its leader, pledge our commitment to doing that.
“We will share more information about the steps we are taking in the coming weeks.”
Neil’s initial remarks about the need for women to “step up” were criticised by several female artists, including Pink, who shared a handwritten rebuttal on Twitter which was later retweeted by Katy Perry.