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New York's Met museum to remove Sackler name from exhibits

2 years 2 months 2 weeks ago Friday, December 10 2021 Dec 10, 2021 December 10, 2021 7:45 AM December 10, 2021 in News
Source: CNN/BBC News

NEW YORK - A well-known family that's been a long-time sponsor of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, on Thursday, publicly agreed with the Met's decision to drop their name from the famous museum's exhibit halls. 

According to BBC News, the Met's reason for distancing itself from the Sackler family boils down to the prestigious clan's ties to recently dissolved opioid-maker, Purdue Pharma.

As the infamous company's founders, the Sacklers have come under fire for manufacturing drugs like OxyContin, which are blamed for adding fuel to the opioid crisis. 

The Sackler family has made substantial donations to the Met for decades. 

In fact, CNN notes that the Met's "Sackler Wing" has been home to one of the museum's most prized treasures in its collection: The Temple of Dendur. The ancient Egyptian temple was built by the Roman governor of Egypt, Petronius, around 15 BC, and it has been on display at the Met since 1978.

CNN says the family has also gifted a wing at the Louvre; a courtyard at the Victoria and Albert Museum; a center for feminist art at the Brooklyn Museum; and an arts education center at the Guggenheim Museum of Art; and donated to dozens of other institutions, including the National Gallery, the Tate, the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History.

But in recent years, as America's opioid crisis has continued to unfold, so has the Met's determination to distance itself from the family linked to the pharmaceutical company that admitted it "knowingly and intentionally conspired and agreed with others to aid and abet" doctors dispensing medication "without a legitimate medical purpose." 

In 2019, the Met announced that it would no longer accept donations from the Sackler family due to their company's "production of opioids and the ensuing health crisis surrounding the abuse of these medications."

The most recent announcement came Thursday, via a joint statement from the Met and members of the Sackler family.

"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," the descendants of Dr. Mortimer Sackler and Dr. Raymond Sackler said.

"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 family added.

A total of seven exhibition spaces at the Met currently bear the Sackler name and will need to be renamed.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses.

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