Fiona Apple Calls Out Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow on New T-Shirt
The shirt says “Kneel, Portnow.”
Fiona Apple recently performed alongside Garbage’s Shirley Manson at Girlschool LA, a festival including only female-identifying artists in its lineup.
During the set, Apple wore a T-shirt that called out Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow, who recently came under fire for saying women in the music industry should “step up” if they want more recognition.
The shirt says “Kneel, Portnow.” The exec has since said that he regrets the remark.
This year's Grammy nominations (and winners) were dominated by male performers, sparking backlash online and giving rise to the hashtag #GrammysSoMale. The issue was further made worse by the fact that album of the year nominee Lorde, the only female artist nominated in the category, was not offered a solo performing slot at the night's event, unlike her male cohorts in the category. The New Zealand singer opted to skip performing altogether.
On Thursday, a campaign of female music executives called for Portnow’s resignation from the Recording Academy over the remark, saying, “We step up every single day and have been doing so for a long time. The fact that you don’t realize this means it’s time for you to step down."
The letter continued: "We are here not to merely reprimand you, but to shed light on why there is such an outcry over your comments and remind you of the challenges that women face in our country and, specifically, in the music industry. Your comments are another slap in the face to women, whether intended or not; whether taken out of context, or not. Needless to say, if you are not part of the solution, then you must accept that YOU are part of the problem. Time’s up, Neil."
Watch a clip of the performance (and see Apple's shirt) below.
A version of this story first appeared on Billboard.com.