Only When Beneficiaries Take a Stand Against Dark Money Will Decency be Touted over Wealth, the Louvre

Louvre, Paris

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Louvre removes Sackler family from museum walls

France’s Louvre Museum has erased the Sackler name from its walls, removing any physical trace of its ties to the billionaire family that owns opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma.

The art philanthropist family’s name was quietly removed from a wing dedicated to eastern antiquities over the last few weeks, The New York Times reported.

The wing has been known as the Sackler Wing of Oriental Antiquities since 1997.

A plaque honouring the family’s donations to the museum was also removed from the gallery’s entrance and any mentions of the “Sackler Wing” on the museum’s website have also been deleted.

A representative of the museum said the Sackler’s name was erased because it had exceeded a time limit.

“On 10 October, 2003, the museum board decided to limit the duration period named room to 20 years. [The Sackler] donation is more than 20 years old, the name-period is therefore legally closed and these rooms no longer carry the Sackler name,” the statement said.

The removal follows major museums in Europe and New York announcing they will no longer accept donations from the family.

The family behind Purdue Pharma has been the subject of multiple lawsuits from different states in the US for its alleged role in the country’s opioid epidemic. The transatlantic family are decedents of three Sackler brothers—Raymond, Arthur and Mortimer—who turned their small pharmaceutical firm into a family-controlled enterprise, which eventually became the $3 billion revenue-making Purdue Pharma. The company introduced OxyContin in 1996.