Phoebe Bridgers Calls Out Ex-Grammys CEO Neil Portnow Following Boygenius Win: “Rot in Piss”

Phoebe Bridgers did not mince words when talking to reporters backstage at the Grammys, calling out the former head of the Recording Academy after he was recently accused of rape.

Bridgers, who appeared in the Grammys press room alongside her Boygenius bandmembers Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus following their win for best rock performance, was asked about the future of rock and women excelling in the genre.

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“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. And to him I’d like to say I know you’re not dead yet, but when you are, rot in piss.”

In 2018, when women won only 17 of the 86 awards at that year’s show — and only two awards during the live show — Portnow told reporters, “I think it has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and their souls who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, who want to be producers, who want to be part of the industry on an executive level, to step up.”

Portnow ended his tenure as head of the Grammys and the Recording Academy when his contract expired in 2019, and in November, he was sued by a member of the Recording Academy who claimed he drugged and raped her in a New York hotel in 2018.

The lawsuit accuses Portnow of sexual assault, which the Recording Academy “aided and abetted” to “protect their reputations and silence Plaintiff and other women in the music industry.” A spokesperson for Portnow denied the allegations.

This year’s Grammys was a very different turnout for women than the 2018 ceremony, as four different females — Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus and Victoria Monét — won the top four Grammys, mirroring the 2021 Grammys when Swift, Eilish, H.E.R. and Megan Thee Stallion won the big four awards.

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