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The Sackler surname, synonymous with many of the opioid crisis, will no longer appear in dedicated galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The iconic arts institution and the descendants of the Sackler family announced the name deletion in a statement on Thursday, saying the two sides “have mutually agreed to take this step in order to allow the Met to continue its core mission.”
âOur families have always been a strong supporter of the Met, and we believe it is in the best interest of the Museum and the important mission it serves,â said descendants of Dr. Mortimer and Raymond Sackler. “The first of these donations was made almost 50 years ago, and now we are passing the torch to others who may want to get involved in supporting the Museum.”
One of the wealthiest families in the country, the Sacklers made their fortunes in part thanks to Purdue Pharma, the company that in 1996 launched Oxycontin, an improved version of the pain reliever oxycodone. The proliferation of Oxycontin and other pain relievers has been accused of spurring the national opioid crisis.
Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family have made billions of dollars over the past two and a half decades from sales of Oxycontin, but they have both been the subject of numerous lawsuits alleging that Purdue continued to increase sales of Oxycontin. drug despite its addictive nature. Purdue Pharma has twice been convicted of wrongdoing in connection with its marketing of Oxycontin.
Purdue and the Sacklers both agreed to a multibillion-dollar settlement in civil matters, which was approved by a federal judge in September in the context of bankruptcy proceedings. The agreement granted the Sackler family immunity from opioid prosecution; they have never been charged with a crime related to the opioid crisis and have claimed their innocence.
In many ways, however, the court of public opinion held that the Sackler family guilty by association, and that puts institutions such as the Met – the Sacklers donated enough money to have a wing named in his honor – in an uncomfortable place.
Dan Weiss, president and CEO of The Met, said the name change would help the museum move forward and put the focus back on its artwork.
âThe Met was built through the philanthropy of generations of donors – and the Sacklers have been among our most generous supporters,â Weiss said. âThis gracious gesture of the Sacklers helps the Museum continue to serve present and future generations. We greatly appreciate it.