Metropolitan Museum of Art scrubs Sackler name during opioid scandal


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has scrubbed the Sackler name from its halls after years of outrage over the role the family is accused of playing in America’s ongoing opioid crisis.

The museum and the wealthy family, in a joint statement Thursday, announced that seven exhibition spaces — including the wing that houses the famed Temple of Dendur — will no longer bear the Sackler name.

“The Met has been built by the philanthropy of generations of donors — and the Sacklers have been among our most generous supporters,” said Dan Weiss, the museum’s president and CEO. “This gracious gesture by the Sacklers aids the Museum in continuing to serve this and future generations.”   

A museum spokesperson said the moniker had already been removed as of Thursday.

“We did it!” said photographer and activist Nan Goldin, who along with her campaign group PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), has been calling on cultural institutions to reject the art patrons.

Nan Goldin
Activist Nan Goldin was pleased with the Met’s decision to remove the Sackler name from the museum.
LightRocket via Getty Images

“We’re so happy that the MET has listened to PAIN and to their own moral conscience,” Goldin told The Post in an email. “We’re grateful to the MET for leading the charge and wait for all of the other museums who bear their name to follow suit.”

The Met’s distancing from the family name comes two years after the renowned museum said it would no longer accept donations from Sackler members with ties to Purdue Pharma — the maker of OxyContin.

The family overall has a decades-long relationship with the Met and other cultural institutions, including the Guggenheim Museum and American Museum of Natural History in New York and London’s Tate and National Portrait Gallery, all of which have also said they would stop accepting Sackler donations.

The Sackler family runs Purdue Pharma, the maker of the painkiller OxyContin.
AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File

The Louvre in Paris scrapped the moniker from what had been the “Sackler Wing of Oriental Antiquities” in July 2019, amid protests led by Goldin and PAIN.

The group led its first demonstration at the Met in 2018, scattering pill bottles inside the Sackler Wing’s reflective pool. The wing was named after brothers Arthur, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, who donated $3.5 million for it to be built in the 1970s.

Their descendants have come under increased scrutiny in recent years over Purdue’s hawking and marketing of OxyContin, the highly addictive painkiller blamed for thousands of overdose deaths across the country.

The Met
The Met stopped accepting donations from Sackler family members two years ago.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“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,” Sackler descendants said in a statement Thursday.

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