Boygenius’ Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker, February 2024 (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
Last night, at the 2024 Grammys, Phoebe Bridgers called out former Recording Academy chairman and CEO Neil Portnow, telling him to “rot in piss” over his infamous 2018 comments about women in music, as well as the sexual assault allegations he is currently facing. Bridgers and her Boygenius bandmates, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, were backstage in the Grammys press room taking questions about their three victories at the awards show, when a Rolling Stone reporter asked the trio about women’s roll in the future of rock music.
“I have something to say about women,” Bridgers responded. “The ex-president of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, said that if women want to be nominated and win Grammys that they should ‘step up.’ He’s also being accused of sexual violence. To him I’d like to say: ‘I know you’re not dead yet, but when you are, rot in piss.’”
Baker added, “That’s pretty rock’n’ roll.”
Bridgers referred to a 2018 remark that Portnow made to Variety following the 61st Annual Grammy Awards when all but one of the ceremony’s televised awards went to men. “It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level,” Portnow said, adding that women “[need] to step up” because he thought “they would be welcome.”
Portnow’s comments were met with a surge of backlash from the music industry—including a Vanessa Carlton-led petition calling for him to step down from his post—and, ultimately, led to his resignation as the head of the Recording Academy. In the ensuing years, Portnow has been accused of rape and sued for sexual assault. Portnow has denied the allegations outright.
Ahead of the Grammys ceremony, Bridgers referred to Portnow in an interview with The Associated Press, saying that “it was only a couple of years ago now that that (expletive) who is now being accused of sexual violence said women need to step it up if they want to be nominated.”
Boygenius took home three Grammy awards last night, winning Best Alternative Music Album for their debut LP, The Record, as well as Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance for “Not Strong Enough.” Additionally, Bridgers won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her SZA collaboration “Ghost in the Machine.”
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork