It's easy to point fingers but we're all implicated

Eleanor Jolliffe

Most of us would be found wanting if the ethical spotlight were shone on us, says Eleanor Jolliffe

The news that the National Portrait Gallery has given up a £1m donation from the Sackler Trust for its Jamie Fobert and Purcell redevelopment is a good demonstration of the ethical tightropes we all walk.

It was announced as a joint decision, with the trust saying it had “temporarily paused all new philanthropic giving, while still honouring existing commitments” until “We can be confident that it will not be a distraction for institutions that are applying for grants”.

The distraction, of course, is that the trust is the philanthropic arm of the Sackler family, multiple members of whom are currently facing lawsuits in the US related to Purdue Pharma’s, role in the US opioid crisis. The Sackler-owned pharmaceutical company manufactures the addictive prescription painkiller Oxycontin.

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