New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will remove the Sackler family name from seven of its galleries.
The museum said it came to the decision with members of the Sackler family “in order to allow The Met to further its core mission.”
“Our families have always strongly supported The Met, and we believe this to be in the best interest of the Museum and the important mission that it serves,” descendants of physicians Mortimer and Raymond Sackler said in a statement.
“The earliest of these gifts were made almost fifty years ago, and now we are passing the torch to others who might wish to step forward to support the Museum.”
The Sacklers, who were at the center of the nation’s deadly opioid crisis, in 2021 won sweeping immunity from opioid lawsuits linked to their privately owned company Purdue Pharma and its OxyContin medication.
The Met’s decision follows years of activism from organizations like Prescription Addiction Intervention Now (PAIN), which has led protests at the Met and the Harvard Art Museum.
(But) “we learned early on that we were almost never going to get credit for any of the museums’ decisions,” PAIN activist Megan Kepler told Hyperallergic.
The Met is the latest prominent museum to distance itself from the Sacklers. In 2019, Tate Modern announced it would no longer accept Sackler donation money and the Louvre removed the Sackler family name from its building.
The backlash against the Sackler family from activists like PAIN has been intense following years of lawsuits.
According to The New York Times, the Sacklers knew its opioid pill was addictive but persuaded doctors to prescribe more painkillers and at higher doses. The Met’s decision to remove the Sackler name comes after an announcement last month that more than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in one year.
Sam Quinones, author of the award winning book “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” told Newsmax the public is clearly turning its back to the Sackler family.
“It is clear that as time goes on, more institutions are distancing themselves from the Sackler family. It is a remarkable turn of fortune, one that I never thought would happen when I wrote Dreamland,” he told xx.
“When I visited towns hit hard by the opioid crisis in Southern Ohio and Appalachia, the families there were voiceless and powerless. Today, the Sackler name is a pariah, and the last name will go down in history as a name stained,” he added.
The Sacklers in September 2021were ordered to pay $4.5 billion to settle opioid claims.
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