The board of directors of the Gstaad Menuhin Festival decided at its ordinary meeting on 28 December 2019 to temporarily waive the donation of CHF 25,000 by Theresa Sackler.
In recent weeks, the partnership has become an increasing burden for the Gstaad Menuhin Festival due to criticism of the US pharmaceutical company Purdue, which is owned by the Sackler family and is closely linked to the opioid crisis in the USA.
In recent months, the Gstaad Menuhin Festival has repeatedly been associated with current developments surrounding the opioid crisis in the USA. The reason for this has been the festival’s commitment to donations by Theresa Sackler, the board of directors writes in a press release. “In recent months, the Sackler family has come under strong public criticism because of its close ties to the US pharmaceutical company Purdue, which is perceived as partly responsible for the opioid crisis in the USA,” it says.
The board of directors and management of the Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy AG observed that the very good and established partnership with Sackler had become a matter of public interest in recent weeks. In addition, captious, contradictory or vague statements have led to general uncertainty and thus become a burden for the Gstaad Menuhin Festival.
In order to fulfil its responsibility towards the region, the numerous partners, participants, visitors and the public authorities, the board of directors has therefore decided to waive Sackler’s donation for the time being. The board of directors, after a comprehensive consideration of all interests, is entirely oriented towards the well-being of the festival and emphasises that this decision is in no way directed against Sackler.
Sackler’s donation amounts to CHF 25,000. “This is a private donation by Theresa Sackler. It did not come from the Sackler Foundation, as incorrectly communicated in the festival’s print and online media”, emphasises chairman of the board Aldo Kropf when asked. “There was no additional contribution from the Sackler Foundation or other foundations connected with the Sackler family.”
He has known Sackler for more than 20 years and they have a trusting relationship, emphasizes board member Hans-Ueli Tschanz. Sackler regrets the development and has taken note of the decision, he says. The board will now monitor future developments in this matter.
Based on AvS/Anita Moser