The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation removed Rolling Stone Co-Founder Jann Wenner from their board of directors after he made offensive comments about Black or female artists in a New York Times article, Rolling Stone reported.
Wenner’s book, “The Masters” includes seven interviews with artists like Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Mick Jagger. Everyone in his book is either white and male. He said in the article that Black and female performers “didn’t articulate enough on this intellectual level.”
He has since apologized “wholeheartedly” for his comments, but it’s too late. In addition to the Foundation dismissal, a promotional book event at the Montclair Literary Festival in New Jersey was cancelled.
Why it matters:
The Foundation was quick to remove Wenner from its board of directors after his insensitive comments left a bad taste in many people’s mouths.
“Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” per a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame statement sent to Rolling Stone.
While the article noted that no explanation was given for that decision, no explanation was really needed. Wenner messed up. Big time.
Wenner co-founded the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and served as its chairman until 2020, per Rolling Stone.
Despite the long history, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation made the most appropriate move to cut ties with their own co-founder for his deeply insensitive and horrid remarks.
Wenner’s promotional fiasco of his new book is almost the PR antithesis of how to do a book tour and debut. Organizations distancing themselves from public figures who said or did something blatantly offensive is a smart idea to protect their own brand from negative implications and fallout.
Breaking away from these controversial figures who have a bad case of foot-in-mouth, might be the best form of recourse to stay above the fray.
Editor’s Top Links:
- On Sunday, Drew Barrymore announced plans to cancel the return of her talk show after facing intense public backlash amid the continuing writers strike. “I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” Barrymore posted in a statement on Instagram. Still, was her decision too little too late? Barrymore has badly damaged her brand, and it will take more than this course correction to regain her image in Hollywood.
- Sept. 15- Oct. 15 marks Hispanic Heritage Month. One in every five TikTok platform users are Hispanic, per a Forbes article. #LatinoTikTok garnered 3.8 billion views and Latina influencers are getting into this “untapped market,” according to ABC News. Itzy Canales, a Latina influencer, told ABC News that she amplifies her culture. “We just have so many different expressions and I feel like even being Nicaraguense, myself, like the Central American Latina influencer as an industry isn’t really tapped into very much,” Canales told ABC News. This could be an opportunity to reach new or existing audiences in innovative ways using fresh voices.
- Jonathan Isaac started an apparel company, Unitus, that is based around appealing to more conservative values. “I wanted my values to be represented in the marketplace, especially when it came to sports and leisure wear,” Isaac told the New York Times. Unitus is featured on online marketplace PublicSq., which promotes companies like Isaac’s that are “pro-life,” “pro-freedom” and pro-family. Since the successful boycotts against Target and Bud Light, the platform has seen a spike. More brands are becoming vocal in their political stances. Narrowing your messaging to fit your target audience and stakeholders can draw in niche consumers at the risk of alienating others.
Sherri Kolade is a writer at Ragan Communications. When she is not with her family, she enjoys watching Alfred Hitchcock-style films, reading and building an authentically curated life that includes more than occasionally finding something deliciously fried. Follow her on LinkedIn. Have a great PR story idea? Email her at email@example.com.