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Phoebe Bridgers tells ex-Grammys head Neil Portnow to “rot in piss”

Phoebe Bridgers has shared that Neil Portnow, the former head of the Grammys, should “rot in piss”.

Bridgers has become a first-time Grammy winner and scored four trophies at the 2024 Recording Academy Awards show last night (February 4) with three earned as part of supergroup Boygenius and a solo one for her feature on SZA’s ‘Ghost In The Machine’.

After winning their awards, Boygenius were backstage answering questions from the press. After being asked about the current state of rock and women’s places within the space, Bridgers said: “I have something to say about women. 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. And to him I’d like to say: I know you’re not dead yet, but when you are … rot in piss.”

Back in 2018, Portnow faced backlash following the 2018 Grammys for remarks he made after the ceremony where he said female artists needed to “step up” in order to have their success recognised – comments which were made in response to the fact that only 9% of the 899 Grammy nominees that year were women.

“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… [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome,” he said.

Portnow later backtracked and apologised for his comments, adding that he “realised that it’s about more than just my words”.

He then stepped down as Grammys President in July 2019 after the expiration of his contract. Portnow had served as the head of the Grammys’ organising arm since 2002.

“The evolution of industries, institutions and organisations is ultimately the key to their relevance, longevity and success.” Portnow said in a statement.

He continued: “I’ll be working with our Board to put the various elements in place that will ensure transparency, best practices, and the Academy’s ability to find the very best, brightest, and qualified leadership to take us into our seventh decade of operation.”

In 2019, Dua Lipa explained that she didn’t plan to call out Portnow in her acceptance speech for Best New Artist that year.

While picking up her second award of the night, Lipa said: “I guess where I want to begin is by saying how honoured I am to be nominated alongside so many really incredible female artists this year. I guess this year we’ve really stepped up.”

Winner Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker of Boygenius, with trophy, at the 66th Grammy Awards held at the Arena in Los Angeles, CA, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

In an interview with ELLE, the singer was asked if her line about stepping up was “deliberate”, she replied: “I didn’t plan it. It just came out of my mouth. But it felt right; it was obviously shade, but at the same time, he’s spoken about it and he knows what he did.”

last year, Portnow was accused of rape in a lawsuit made by an anonymous musician. As reported by the New York Times, the suit alleges that Portnow drugged and raped the musician in a New York City hotel room in 2018.

While the artist is not named in the suit, they are identified as an instrumentalist from outside the United States who once performed at Carnegie Hall. The musician is said to have contacted the Recording Academy, which runs the Grammys, in 2018 about the alleged crime.

In other news, , Joni Mitchell reflected on her surprise appearance at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival as she collected the 10th Grammy of her career.

Boygenius confirmed their familial bond amid reports they’re about to go on hiatus, while Killer Mike seemingly responded to André 3000’s comments about being too old to rap as he swept up three trophies at the premiere ceremony. The rapper was reportedly arrested shortly after his wins.

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