It is inconsistent to suggest that the National Portrait Gallery was right to reject funds offered by the Sackler Trust on ethical grounds but that refusing sponsorship from BP or Shell “would be excessive while most consumers continue to use their products daily” (“Arts bodies are right to scrutinise their donors”, editorial, March 22).
The legal availability of a product is not a measure of the ethics of those that manufacture it. A core allegation against the Sackler family was that they profited from the spread of misinformation about the prescription opioid OxyContin. It is no secret that fossil fuel companies have backed the spread of misinformation about climate change and profited from the sustained use of fossil fuels.
Funding cuts have placed our museums and galleries under considerable financial pressure but that is all the more reason to be ethically robust and reject those that merely use the arts to launder their reputations.
Dr Chris Garrard
Co-director, Culture Unstained, Tadley, Hants, UK
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