×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fiona Apple Slams Grammy Chief With ‘Kneel, Portnow’ T-Shirt (Watch)

The weekend provided no reprieve for Grammy chief Neil Portnow as Fiona Apple lambasted his twice-walked-back comment that female artists need to “step up” with a rebuke of her own — in the form of a T-shirt that says “Kneel, Portnow.”

The outspoken singer wore the shirt while making a guest appearance with Garbage’s Shirley Manson at the femme-centric Girlschool L.A. festival at the city’s Bootleg Theater on Saturday night. Fittingly, the two sang a cover of Leslie Gore’s 1963 Quincy Jones-produced hit “You Don’t Own Me.” Apple sang it gruffly, recalling Joan Jett’s 1979 cover, which was recorded with Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols.

While Manson introduced Apple with a long introduction about her love for the singer’s music, which she discovered after receiving a CD on a 1996 Garbage tour, no comments about Portnow are heard on several fan-recorded video clips from the show.

The uproar began shortly after the Grammy telecast ended on Sunday night, when Portnow replied to a Variety reporter’s question about how female artists, who garnered a very low number of nominations and wins, can move forward in years ahead. “[Women] who want to be musicians, engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level [need] to step up,” he said.

The outcry on social media was swift and unforgiving, and even thought Portnow issued two statements walking back his comment, including one in which he pledged to create a task force at the Academy designed to further “female advancement,” a group of powerful female industry executives on Thursday issued a letter calling for his resignation.

Yet those two words became a misleading focus of the real problem, which is the low number of female nominees on the ballot — despite an unprecedentedly diverse slate of nominees in terms of race and musical genre, and despite a powerful #MeToo-themed performance from Kesha and speech from Janelle Monae during the show.

When asked by TMZ last month whether sexual harassment is as prevalent in the music business as the film industry, Apple shot back, “F— yes, are you f—ing kidding me?

 

More Music

  • Taylor Swift attends the Time 100

    Taylor Swift Makes a Pre-Single Splash With Time 100 Gala Performance

    Just two nights out from Taylor Swift D-day spring 2019 — i.e., Thursday’s release of a new single — Swift made an appearance Tuesday at the Time 100 event in New York, where she did not let loose with any spoiler performances of new music but did sing a few fan favorites, including “Style,” “Delicate,” and [...]

  • Britney Spears Musical

    Britney Spears Posts Video Reassuring Fans 'All Is Well'

    Britney Spears took to Instagram Tuesday to reassure her fans that “all is well” after some expressed fears for her well-being. “Hi guys, just checking in with all of you that are concerned about me,” she said in a video. “All is well, my family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety, [...]

  • Tootsie review

    Broadway Review: 'Tootsie'

    The new Broadway adaptation of “Tootsie” is old-fashioned and proud of it — and it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser, in this musical spin on the 1982 film comedy with Santino Fontana in the Dustin Hoffman role. Robert Horn (book) and Tony-winner David Yazbek (score) have a high old time poking fun at theatrical rituals — the [...]

  • Us Musician Michael Franti Performs on

    Michael Franti Signs Worldwide Publishing Deal With Position Music

    Michael Franti has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Position Music to maximize opportunities for his new music in film, television, advertising and gaming outlets. The singer and songwriter, best known for the 2010 hit “The Sound of Sunshine,” also moonlights as a poet and filmmaker and is known to promote social causes and humanitarian [...]

  • Billie Eilish Coachella Day 2

    Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper, Post Malone to Headline Life Is Beautiful Festival

    Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper, Post Malone and the Black Keys are a few of the more than 70 artists set to perform at the seventh annual Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, which takes place from Sept. 20-22. Following sold-out shows for the last two years, the rapidly growing festival brings several musicians hot [...]

  • Britney Spears Musical

    Britney Spears Musical 'Once Upon a One More Time's' Film Rights Land at Sony

    Sony Pictures has won screen rights to the Broadway-bound “Once Upon a One More Time,” a fairy tale featuring classic songs from Britney Spears, sources have confirmed to Variety. John Davis’ Davis Entertainment will produce the film along with Spears and her manager, Larry Rudolph. Neither a writer nor a director has yet been attached. [...]

  • NSYNC

    Is *NSYNC Planning a Reunion Without Justin Timberlake? 'There Are Offers'

    It’s a legitimate question. Following the surprise appearance of *NSYNC members Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick with Ariana Grande at the Coachella music festival on April 15, could the group stage a comeback play without Justin Timberlake? The foursome took to the stage deep into Grande’s song “Break Up With Your [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content