British National Portrait Gallery ends grant from manufacturer family connected to opioids

British National Portrait Gallery ends grant from manufacturer family connected to opioids
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The United Kingdom's National Portrait Gallery has discontinued a 1 million pound grant from a multibillionaire family under fire for its role in opioid sales.

The gallery announced Tuesday that it will no longer work with the grant from the Sackler family, which owns OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, according to The Guardian.

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On Tuesday, the gallery said it made a "joint" decision with the Sacklers not to proceed at this time with the grant.

The Sackler Trust first awarded the grant in 2016, but the money had not yet been paid, remaining in pledge form as the gallery’s ethics committee considered whether to accept it.

“The allegations against family members are vigorously denied, but to avoid being a distraction for the [gallery], we have decided not to proceed at this time with the donation,” the Sackler Trust said in a statement. “We continue to believe strongly in the gallery and the wonderful work it does.”

The family has donated millions to several cultural institutions in both the U.K. and the U.S., including the Royal Opera House and Old Vic Theatre in the U.K. and, in America, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim Museum. 

In February, American artist and activist Nan Goldin said she would refuse a retrospective of her work at the gallery if it accepted the money. 

A lawsuit filed earlier this year in Massachusetts alleges members of the Sackler family personally profited from harm caused by the company’s opioids. The lawsuit says family emails prove the Sacklers deliberately concealed their products’ potential for addiction from both doctors and patients and referred to drug abusers as “reckless criminals.”

This story was updated at 9:40 a.m. March 21.