Bob Dylan defended Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner during his Thursday show at New York City’s Beacon Theatre.
Wenner, who was in attendance, got the only audience acknowledgment from the stage, despite Jerry Seinfeld and Elvis Costello also being there.
“Alright, like to say hello to Jann Wenner, who’s in the house. Jann Wenner, surely everybody’s heard of him,” Dylan said before a rendition of “Goodbye Jimmy Reed.”
“Anyway, he just got booted out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and we don’t think that’s right. We’re trying to get him back in.”
“All right, like to say hello to Jann Wenner who’s in the house. Jann Wenner, surely everybody’s heard of him.
Anyway, he just got booted out of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame – and we don’t think that’s right, we’re trying to get him back in.”
— Bob Dylan 11/16/23 pic.twitter.com/Vkgt8klzYS
— Dylan.FM Podcast (@TheFM_Dylan) November 17, 2023
Wenner found himself crossing the Purveyors of Woke in September when he published a book of interviews with whom he dubbed “The Masters.” His crime? They were all white males.
When that was pointed out by The New York Times, Wenner responded, “It’s not that they’re inarticulate, although, go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please, be my guest. You know, Joni (Mitchell) was not a philosopher of rock ’n’ roll. She didn’t, in my mind, meet that test,” he said.
“Of Black artists — you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as ‘masters,’ the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level,” Wenner said.
Wenner was swiftly removed from the board of directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which he also co-founded.
“Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” the organization said, according to the Associated Press.
Wenner fell on his sword: “In my interview with The New York Times I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius and impact of Black and women artists and I apologize wholeheartedly for those remarks.”
He continued: “I totally understand the inflammatory nature and badly chosen words and deeply apologize and accept the consequences.”
Dylan didn’t elaborate on what he was doing to get Wenner back onto the board.