The Metropolitan Museum of Art is removing the Sackler name from a number of exhibits following intense scrutiny over the family’s involvement in the opioid crisis.
The Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, will no longer have its name on seven exhibits in the museum, the Met announced Thursday. The change will affect the Sackler Wing of the museum, home to Egyptian art and the Temple of Dendur.
BREAKING! In a huge development, the @metmuseum is removing the Sackler name from the Sackler wing and other galleries.
— Patrick Radden Keefe (@praddenkeefe) December 9, 2021
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art and descendants of the late Dr. Mortimer Sackler and Dr. Raymond Sackler today announced that seven named exhibition spaces in the Museum, including the wing that houses the iconic Temple of Dendur, will no longer carry the Sackler name,” the museum said in a release. “The Museum and the families of Dr. Mortimer Sackler and Dr. Raymond Sackler have mutually agreed to take this action in order to allow The Met to further its core mission.”
The family added that this change is in the “best interest” of the museum and its mission. (RELATED: Drug Overdose Deaths Hit New High During Pandemic)
The Sacklers donated millions to philanthropic causes, including the Met, but their company was simultaneously fueling the rise of America’s opioid epidemic, detractors say. The Met stopped accepting donations from family members connected to Purdue in 2019, a move first reported on by the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF).
In 2017, the DCNF reported on millions in donations accepted by various nonprofits from the Sacklers to help uphold their public image amidst the opioid crisis. A DCNF investigation at the time revealed that the Sacklers were spending a grand total of zero dollars on rehabilitating the victims of its opioid salesmanship.
In recent years, the family has faced legal and financial consequences for its involvement in pushing OxyContin onto Americans. In August, Richard Sackler denied any wrongdoing for his family’s role in the crisis, even after Purdue pled guilty in November 2020 to playing a part in the epidemic.
In 2019, Purdue and the Sackler family reached a $270 million settlement for contributing to overdoses. The company also filed for bankruptcy that year, and in September of this year Purdue Pharma was dissolved in a $4.5 billion bankruptcy settlement.