A group of female music-industry senior executives has called for Recording Academy president Neil Portnow to step down following his controversial comments on female artists. After viewers pointed out that Alessia Cara was the only woman on Sunday to win a solo Grammy in a major category, Portnow made the following statement after the ceremony:

“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. I don’t have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it’s upon us — us as an industry — to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists.”

As expected, Portnow’s comments received an immediate response from women across numerous sectors, prompting the hashtag #GrammySoMale.

In response, Portnow issued another statement in which he apologized for his “poor choice of words.” He went on to note: “I also now realize that it’s about more than just my words. Because those words, while not reflective of my beliefs, echo the real experience of too many women. I’d like to help make that right,” he wrote.

In a kneejerk response, Portnow also revealed plans to implement an independent task force to “review every aspect” of the organization. With many executives not appeased by his response, an online petition shortly made it rounds calling for Portnow’s immediate resignation.

Led by music-business attorney Rosemary Carroll, the petition is currently a few hundred votes shy of its 14,000-signature goal.

In related news, female artists showed solidarity for victims of sexual assault.

  • Main & Featured Image: Michael Kovac / Getty Images

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