Millionaire Warren Kanders who is the majority owner and CEO of Safariland, a global defense equipment manufacturer, has resigned from Whitney’s Museum Board after months of protest that began last year.
Safariland which produces tear gas, riot gear, bomb suits, body armor, along with other tactical equipment, had been linked to the controversy surrounding the US borders. Protest demanding Kander’s resignation began in November 2018, when reports emerged stating that tear gas canisters with ‘Safariland’ plastered on them were found at the US/Mexico border. The tear gas is said to have been used by US officials on migrants.
Kanders whose net worth is around $700 million is just another example of the on-going trend that has recently scrutinized the morals and ethics of the wealthy, philanthropic Americans.
Since the initial protest began in November 2018, there was a letter signed by 100 museum employees expressing their discernment with Kander’s position on the board. Then in May 2019, 200 people protested at the Whitney Biennial opening before marching to Kanders’ Manhattan townhouse. Then last week eight artists who opposed Kanders’ place on the museum’s board requested for their work to be withdrawn from the Whitney Biennial, the Museums prestigious exhibition.
In Kander’s resignation letter he defended his company stating; “The targeted campaign of attacks against me and my company that has been waged these past several months has threatened to undermine the important work of the Whitney. I joined this board to help the museum prosper. I do not wish to play a role, however inadvertent, in its demise.”
Warren and wife Allison Kanders resigned simultaneously from the museum board. Together they contributed over $10 million to the Museum.