The news follows months of criticism leveled at Portnow and the academy over those comments and came after the Grammys celebrated its 60th anniversary. Initially, the nominees for the 2018 Grammys were hailed as a progressive move forward, as they honored many R&B and hip-hop acts in the major categories.
Yet the narrative quickly changed after January’s ceremony. Of the nine awards handed out during the televised portion of the Grammys, only one went to a solo female; meanwhile, a USC study released around the same time highlighted that the awards have been far from diverse in the major categories.
Thursday’s announcement made no reference to the #GrammySoMale controversy that went viral after a preponderance of nominations and awards were bestowed on male recipients, continuing a trend that has long characterized the music industry and which ignited this year after the emergence of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
Portnow had earlier apologized via a statement: “Regrettably, I used two words, ‘step up,’ that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make.”
After the intense backlash over Portnow's comments, many felt his departure was inevitable.
Still, before this year’s controversies, Portnow had long been credited as a stabilizing force for the Recording Academy after his predecessor, Michael Greene, resigned amid allegations of harassment and mismanagement of charitable funds.