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Sacklers pledge to ‘work constructively’ with institutions wanting to cut ties

The National Portrait Gallery has cut links with the Sackler family (PA)
The National Portrait Gallery has cut links with the Sackler family (PA)

The Sackler family has said it wants to “work constructively” with any institution that wishes to “reassess its naming obligations” to them.

The family name has become synonymous with huge charitable donations to galleries and museums across the UK.

But a number of institutions have ended their relationships in recent years over the Sacklers’ association with the US opioid crisis.

London Stock
The British Museum (Zak Hussein/PA)

The National Portrait Gallery, Tate galleries, Roundhouse and British Museum are among the venues that have cut ties or turned down donations from the family or its associated trusts in recent years.

Controversy has followed the Sacklers over their links to Purdue Pharma, which produces OxyContin, a painkiller that has been at the heart of multiple lawsuits relating to the US opioid crisis.

A statement from the family member trustees of the Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, and The Sackler Trust, said: “We want to help ensure that the institutions we have supported over the years can pursue their missions without distraction or unwarranted pressure.

“Their continued success matters greatly to us.

“With that interest in mind, and consistent with our approach in the United States, we will work constructively with any institution that wishes to reassess its naming obligations to our family.”

In 2019, Camden music venue Roundhouse turned down a £1 million donation from the Sackler Trust over concerns for “young people”.

And in late 2021 Tate confirmed it was removing all references to the Sacklers from its London galleries.

March 2022 saw the chairman of the British Museum, former chancellor George Osborne, announce it was removing the name from “galleries, rooms and endowments they supported”.

An international response has also seen venues such as The Louvre museum in Paris and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art cut ties with the family.

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