Fans of justice, who’ve been given a battering over the last, say, 30 years, got a small peek into a better world this week when the National Portrait Gallery in London turned down a donation of 1.3 Million dollars from the Sackler Trust. Britain is saturated in Sackler beneficiaries, from the Serpentine Sackler Gallery (I like to think that the devil crawled into that name, sticking his forked tongue out of Serpentine) to the V&A Museum Sackler entrance, they have slathered their tax deductible trust money on the art world to an incredible extent, creating a huge ethical dump. Up in Scotland, a Labour and a Scottish National politician both urged the Dundee branch of the V&A Museum to return a grant of 650,000 buckos, to which V&A returned the time-honored non-response that they’ve taken Sackler money before, as has everybody. This is known as the junkie defense. Appropriate, eh? In other news, Dame Theresa Sackler (about the Dame, no comment) has been served with a 500 million dollar suit for her “alleged” role in profiting from a company that was in the addict them, blame them, and deny business. I imagine that Sacklers are beginning, even, not to like the newspaper stories about them. So sad.
According to Bloomberg:
More than 500 U.S. cities and counties accused Purdue and eight members of Richard Sackler’s family of racketeering, claiming the company engaged in misleading and illegal marketing of OxyContin. It’s one of a handful of lawsuits to name the Sacklers as individual defendants in the sweeping opioid litigation.” Named in the suit are the following: Beverly Sackler, David Sackler, Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, Jonathan Sackler, Kathe Sackler, Mortimer Sackler and Theresa Sackler.
Art patrons all.
However, if there is one thing fans of justice have learned over the past thirty years, it is that America (and the EU and all the developed countries and every country with billionaires) have created a very deep system of immunity for the wealthy, architected by “de-regulatin’” politicos, in the pocket D.A.s, state legislators and, as a last defense, a solidly pro-plutocratic judiciary. So we don’t think that the Sacklers are shaking yet.
In an interview with the Washington Post last week, Purdue did say, in a totally totally non-menacing way, that bankruptcy was an option. What does that mean? Fuck if Im going to go into all of that. This Stat article covers it pretty well. But the happy news is that the company was pretty much a money pump for the Sacklers, so they have cash to spare, and I don’t see how bankruptcy would help them unless – unlikely event – the suits go to real trial, instead of some negotiated settlement thing.
In the meantime, Tufts, a big recipient of Sackler largesse – to say the least – is starting to find allegations “deeply troubling”. That was what their PR guy said. When asked if the University was still taking Sackler money, the word was: “[Unless] otherwise required by law we do not share data on our donors except for specific reasons as outlined in our policies…” That too was what the P.R. suit said. He didn’t seem to think this policy was deeply troubling.