Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation Removes Jann Wenner From Board of Directors

The removal followed a controversial New York Times interview

Jann Wenner
Co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine Jann Wenner visits SiriusXM's 'The Howard Stern Show' at SiriusXM Studios on October 03, 2022.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

UPDATE: In a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner apologized for his comments about Black and female artists in an interview published earlier this week. “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 apologize wholeheartedly for those remarks,” Wenner said.

Jann Wenner’s ties to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame run deep. He helped to found the institution in question, and served as the president of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s Board of Directors for years, announcing that he would step down from that role in 2019. Now, Wenner’s involvement with the Hall itself seems to be at an end — likely the result of a controversial interview he gave while promoting his forthcoming book The Masters.

The New York Times reporter Ben Sisario reported that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation had removed Wenner from its board on Saturday evening — just one day after the Times had published Sisario’s colleague David Marches’s interview with Wenner about his book.

The interview was contentious at times, with Marchese repeatedly asking Wenner about the all-male, all-white lineup of interviewees in the book and Wenner attempting to defend himself — and occasionally making comments that went far beyond cringeworthy. (“Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level” is arguably the most prominent example here.)

The interview was candid and revealing, but potentially not in the way that Wenner had hoped. And here we are, one day later, with a terse statement from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter: “Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.”

Jann Wenner was one of the founders of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He’s also an inductee in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. What does one have to do to “be removed” from an institution one helped build? The fallout from Wenner’s interview suggests one way to do it.

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