The activist group Prescription Addiction Intervention Now, or PAIN, is organizing protests across the country at museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Sackler wing in New York City, Washington's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Harvard Art Museums.
These protesters aim to pressure the Sackler family, which amassed a fortune after founding Purdue Pharma – the drugmaker that launched the opioid industry.
As they hurl pill bottles, shout slogans and wave banners, PAIN's activists are demanding that these institutions scrub the Sackler name from their walls. And they vow to keep the pressure up until the Sackler family and the company that made those billions pay for the cost of fighting opioid addiction.
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This campaign is one of the latest examples of how charities can get into trouble when their donors are accused of morally reprehensible behavior. But as a nonprofit law scholar, I have observed that museums, universities and other nonprofits can have trouble distancing themselves from donors who get embroiled in scandals or leave legacies that become an embarrassment.