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By Caitlin O’Kane
December 9, 2021 / 3:39 PM / CBS News
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City announced on Thursday it is dropping the Sackler family name from its galleries. The Sacklers, major benefactors of the museum, made their fortune as , a drug company accused of fueling the
The Sackler family’s name is displayed on seven exhibit spaces at the Met, including the iconic Temple of Dendur — but the name will be taken down. “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 museum said in a statement.
The move by the Met follows similar decisions by other institutions to distance themselves from the family. Paris’ iconic Louvre museum removed the Sackler name in 2019, according to the New York Times. That same year, Tufts School of Medicine in Boston also dropped the Sackler name.
Purdue Pharma developed and aggressively marketed OxyContin, a powerful prescription painkiller. The Sacklers gave up control of the company under the terms of a controversial multibillion-dollar announced this fall that will shield them from further lawsuits.
The company was accused in lawsuits filed by numerous states of playing a major role in sparking the nationwide opioid epidemic. The words of Richard Sackler, the company’s former president and board chairman, emerged as a key part of the investigation.
At a 1996 event to launch sales of OxyContin, he told the company’s sales force there would be “a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition.” Five years later, as evidence of addiction problems grew, Sackler said in an email that Purdue would have to “hammer on the abusers in every way possible,” describing them as “the culprits and the problem.”
When he was asked earlier this year if the family or Purdue Pharma holds responsibility for the opioid crisis, he gave a one-word answer: “No.”
During a hearing over whether a judge should accept the settlement, another Sackler family member said the group wouldn’t accept a deal from further legal action.
The was depicted this year in the Hulu minisieres “Dopesick,” which focuses on the opioid crisis, and the bestselling book “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty,” by Patrick Radden Keefe.
In a statement about the Met’s decision, descendants of Dr. Mortimer Sackler and Dr. Raymond Sackler said: “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.”
Dan Weiss, president and CEO of the Met, noted that “the Sacklers have been among our most generous supporters.”
“This gracious gesture by the Sacklers aids the Museum in continuing to serve this and future generations. We greatly appreciate it,” he said.
Caitlin O’Kane is a digital content producer covering trending stories for CBS News and its good news brand, The Uplift.
First published on December 9, 2021 / 3:39 PM
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New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art will remove Sackler name from galleries after the family's Purdue Pharma was accused of fueling opioid crisis – CBS News
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