Phoebe Bridgers Slams Ex-Grammys Head Neil Portnow

Phoebe Bridgers had some choice words for former Recording Academy president Neil Portnow.

On a night when women dominated the Grammy Awards, Bridgers took the opportunity to revisit some of Portnow’s controversial comments backstage at the 66th annual ceremony.

Portnow, who served as the chairman and CEO of The Recording Academy from 2002 to 2009, stirred up controversy in 2018 when he was quoted saying “women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls… [need] to step up” in response to a question about the lack of nominated women in the awards show. That year, the only woman who was presented a solo Grammy during the awards telecast was Alessia Cara, who took home best new artist. 

At the 2024 show on Sunday night, the Academy turned the tables completely. Women including Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, SZA, Victoria Monét, Karol G and more took home several awards during the televised show.

Boygenius — that is Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus — also won three trophies, including best alternative music album for “The Record,” as well as best rock song and best rock performance for “Not Strong Enough.”

“I have something to say about women,” Bridgers told the press room. “The ex-president of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, said that if women want to be nominated in the Grammys, that they should step up… so and to him I’d like to say: I know you’re not dead yet, but when you are, I hope you rot in piss.”

Bridgers also brought up the sexual abuse allegations pointed against Portnow — a claim that had previously surfaced in 2020 as part of a blockbuster legal claim filed by Portnow’s successor, Deborah Dugan, after she was abruptly placed on leave and ultimately terminated after just eight months on the job; at the time Portnow called the allegations “ludicrous, and untrue.”

Elsewhere, the band addressed their recently announced hiatus, stating that they had pre-planned their break and currently have no plans of returning.

“That’s why we’ve been like showing up and working so hard,” said Dacus “We knew we didn’t have to sustain it… this was our chance.”


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