The main entrance of the Whitney Museum of American Art was doused with fake blood during a march for Gaza in Manhattan yesterday afternoon, November 22.
A video posted online by the Palestinian-American youth movement Within Our Lifetime shows the aftermath of the action: red paint dripping from the museum’s front steps and revolving glass door while a mass of protesters is seen waving Palestine flags in the near distance. No arrests have been reported.
According to Within Our Lifetime, protesters shouted “Ken Griffin is a terrorist,” targeting an American hedge fund billionaire who sat on the museum’s board of trustees until July this year (his name is still on the walls of the museum’s lobby). The Whitney Museum has not returned Hyperallergic‘s request for comment.
Griffin was a vocal critic of a recent pro-Palestinian letter signed by a coalition of student groups at his alma mater, Harvard University. The Citadel CEO, who’s worth some $34 billion according to Forbes, is one of the Ivy League school’s largest donors. In April, Harvard named its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences after Griffin, acknowledging his $300 million gift. In total, he has given the school over $500 million since his graduation in 1989.
In 2019, the Whitney’s vice chair, arms manufacturer Warren Kanders, resigned after months of protests against his company’s involvement with the use of tear gas against civilians worldwide, including asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border, as Hyperallergic revealed in a 2018 report. (He has since announced divesting his company, Safariland Group, from divisions that sell tear gas and riot gear). Back then, Griffin reportedly threatened to resign from the museum’s board in solidarity with his fellow billionaire trustee, but eventually decided to stay; that is until his quiet departure this summer.
Griffin is also a prolific donor to Republicans, doling out $5 million to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s political action committee (PAC) in 2021, and tens of millions more to other conservative candidates.
“We now demand that Ken Griffin resign or be expelled from the board immediately! There is blood on the hands of the Whitney museum,” wrote Within Our Lifetime on Instagram. One commenter noted that Griffin had already stepped down, but suggested looking into other hedge fund billionaires who are still on the board.
“The better move here is to vet the entire board and throw leaflets of the entire list of shitty ones on the steps along with the blood,” the commenter wrote.