Met to stop accepting Sackler family donations over opioid crisis

Met to stop accepting Sackler family donations over opioid crisis
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art confirmed Wednesday it will no longer accept donations from the family behind the company that manufactures Oxycontin, according to The New York Times.

“The museum takes a position of gratitude and respect to those who support us, but on occasion, we feel it’s necessary to step away from gifts that are not in the public interest, or in our institution’s interest,” Daniel H. Weiss, the president of the Met, told the newspaper. “That is what we’re doing here.”

The museum has a decades-long relationship with the family and has a wing named after them, which Weiss told the Times it has no plans to rename. The family has donated tens of millions of dollars to museums, universities and medical schools on multiple continents, and has ties to several New York City institutions in particular, including the Metropolitan Opera and the Dia Art Foundation.

The Sackler family and their company, Purdue, are increasingly under fire amid accusations they helped fuel the opioid addiction crisis. A federal lawsuit alleges members of the family deliberately hid information about the drugs’ potential for addiction.

“While the allegations against our family are false and unfair, we understand that accepting gifts at this time would put the Met in a difficult position. We respect the Met and that is the last thing we would want to do,” members of the Sackler family with ties to Purdue said in a statement to the Times. “Our goal has always been to support the valuable work of such outstanding organizations, and we remain committed to doing so.”

The Met is only the latest museum to distance itself from the Sackler family, following the Tate Modern in London, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the American Museum of Natural History, which also announced this week it would no longer accept the Sacklers’ donations.

In March, it was announced that the family would end its relationship with the United Kingdom’s National Portrait Gallery.