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Bob Dylan defends Jann Wenner at New York City show

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Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Bob Dylan has come out in defense of Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner, who earlier this year was removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame board in response to comments he made in a New York Times interview that were deemed racist and sexist.

The rocker gave a shout-out to Wenner during his show Thursday, November 16, at the Beacon Theatre in New York, saying hello to him in the audience and telling the crowd, “Jann Wenner, surely everybody’s heard of him. 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.”

Wenner drew backlash while out promoting his recent book, The Masters. He tried to explain why it didn’t include interviews with any Black or female artists, saying there were no women “articulate enough on this intellectual level.” Regarding Black artists, he acknowledged the genius of Stevie Wonder but noted, “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 did eventually apologize, noting the artists featured in the book — Dylan, John LennonMick JaggerPete TownshendJerry GarciaBono and Bruce Springsteen — “were not meant to represent the whole of music and its diverse and important originators but to reflect the high points of my career and interviews.”

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