Gift Shop Stunt Ups Pressure On Natural History Museum To Ditch Trump Megadonor

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The newest try to strain the American Museum of Natural History to sever ties with billionaire Rebekah Mercer asks for her to exit by way of the reward store.

A New York-based political stunt group calling itself the Clean Money Project planted spoof presents within the museum retailer and staged faux exhibit indicators on Monday in a bid to spotlight the hypocrisy of permitting Mercer, a serious donor, to stay on its board of administrators.

The group put postcards on show with Mercer’s image and the phrases “local weather change denier and museum board member” alongside Isaac Newton with the slogan “international warming is a fantasy” and Albert Einstein facetiously quoted as saying, “There’s no strategy to show local weather change is expounded to fossil fuels.” The group posted a video of the stunt on YouTube. 

Mercer has donated $four.1 million to the museum over the previous 4 years by way of her household’s basis, and has sat on the board since 2013.

The Long Island heiress to her father’s hedge fund fortune additionally funded and orchestrated candidate Donald Trump’s presidential marketing campaign, bankrolled the right-wing information website Breitbart and donated thousands and thousands to local weather change denial assume tanks. More than 200 scientists launched a campaign in January demanding that the museum take away Mercer, whom they referred to as an “anti-science propagandist,” from the board.

The same effort in 2015 pressured fossil gasoline billionaire David Koch, one of many high financiers behind the local weather denial motion, to leave the museum board.

The stunt this week was not related to the marketing campaign. A member of the group spoke on situation of anonymity to stop safety officers from figuring out him in future initiatives, however HuffPost confirmed his id.

“We need Rebekah Mercer off the board, and we do assume the Natural History Museum is complicit in permitting these individuals to be two-faced,” he stated. “They’re giving them credibility when they’re spending far more cash battling science and undermining science.”

The satirical merchandise additionally included bottled “fracking water” branded with the Koch brothers’ title and flammability warnings, a 2019 calendar celebrating the “great thing about CO2” with pictures of smokestacks, and an empty two-foot field promoting a “residence fracking set” that appeared like a youngsters’ chemistry equipment.

In varied wings of the museum, the group left behind framed indicators proclaiming a brand new “Breitbart evolution wing” sponsored by Mercer and a Koch Enterprises-funded “fossil-fuel appreciation wing.”

“The Museum doesn’t have something so as to add to the data you have already got,” Roberto Lebron, a museum spokesman, stated regarding the group’s stunt through e-mail Wedensday.

The Mercer Family Foundation has donated generously to local weather misinformation teams in recent times, contributing almost $5.9 million to the Heartland Institute, a number one proponent of local weather science denial, between 2008 and 2016, in response to beforehand unreleased tax filings reviewed and revealed by HuffPost in January.

The basis elevated spending on local weather denial in recent times. The household gave $150,000 to the CO2 Coalition, a company born from the ashes of the defunct George C. Marshall Institute, which denied international warming and lobbied against the science behind acid rain and carcinogens in cigarette smoke. It additionally supplied $125,000 to the Arizona-based Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, an oil-funded assume tank run by former Peabody Energy government Craig Idso.

The basis donated almost $2.three million to the Donors Trust, a fundraising group nicknamed “the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement” that doesn’t take an official place on local weather change however has for years directed money to denial proponents.

In a uncommon and widely derided public assertion in February, Mercer dismissed accusations that she is “anti-science” as “absurd smears.”

“I oppose politicized science, by which researchers can not research sure topics — and even ask sure questions — for worry of career-ending backlash and persecution,” she wrote in an op-ed revealed in The Wall Street Journal. “These beliefs form my philanthropy and my political exercise.”

Mercer didn’t reply to a request for touch upon Wednesday.

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