Pink told the president of the Recording Academy to step off earlier this week, and now nearly two dozen female executives in the record industry are telling Neil Portnow to step aside from his position. It all comes out of his remarks after the Grammys on Sunday, when he reacted backstage to a lack of women performers and winners at the awards show by noting women need to "step up" to make inroads in the music industry. "We step up every single day and have been doing so for a long time," an open letter from the female execs to Portnow reads, per the Hollywood Reporter. "The fact that you don't realize this means it's time for you to step down." The signees note his post-Grammy comments were "spectacularly wrong," call him "oblivious," and add, "We do not have to sing louder, jump higher, or be nicer to prove ourselves."
Backlash against Portnow has been building since last weekend, despite the Recording Academy announcing on Thursday an "independent task force" to look into gender bias in the academy and the industry overall. "I appreciate that the issue of gender bias needs to be addressed," Portnow said in a statement. He also expressed regret for using the words "step up," noting the words were "taken out of context" and "do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make," per the Reporter. That hasn't stopped ouster calls from gaining steam: A petition noting his remarks showed "a complete disregard for the many ways women have been overlooked, discredited, and disempowered in music" now has 13,400 co-signers. "If you are not part of the solution, then you must accept that YOU are part of the problem," the female executives write in their letter. "Time's up, Neil." Their missive is here. (Read more Recording Academy stories.)