In a statement to Variety, Portnow said that the phrase "step up" had been taken out of context and did not reflect his beliefs.
The rest of his statement reads:
Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it
I regret that I wasn't as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone.
Portnow's original comments stemmed from a question about that lack of female representation in many of the Grammy Award categories.
"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," he said. "[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome."
The original remarks drew ire from a number of high-profile female artists, including Grammy performer P!nk, Charli XCX, Tegan and Sara, Iggy Azalea, and Halsey.
ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ????? https://t.co/EkijTA33QW— CHARLI XCX (@charli_xcx) January 29, 2018
Well. At least the music industry is consistent across North America in putting the blame on women for not being nominated. https://t.co/wdaDorqZy0— Tegan and Sara (@teganandsara) January 29, 2018
Neil Portnow really has me heated with his "women need to step up" Grammy-Boys-Club bullshit statement.— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) January 30, 2018
Neil's comment was absurd. Female artists came HARD in 2017. But the nominees are selected by peers and their opinion of the music. Which means it's a conversation about the standards of which the ENTIRE INDUSTRY expects women to uphold.— h (@halsey) January 30, 2018