- Whitney Museum of American Art vice chairman and Safariland CEO Warren B. Kanders resigned from the museum’s board Thursday.
- Museum employees and artists had protested his — and the museum’s — link to the weapons company.
- The Safariland logo was seen on tear gas canisters and smoke grenades used against asylum seekers at the U.S-Mexico border.
- A group of eight artists withdrew their work from the Whitney Biennial after its president failed to take action against Kanders.
Whitney Museum of American Art vice chairman Warren B. Kanders resigned from his board post Thursday after months of protests — including eight artists’ withdrawal from the prestigious Whitney Biennial exhibition — over his military supplies company’s sale of tear gas used on asylum seekers at the United States-Mexico border.
Kanders announced his resignation, effective immediately, in a letter addressed to the museum’s board of trustees, The New York Times first reported.
“Unfortunately, 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,” Kanders wrote.
Kanders owns Safariland, which produces military supplies, including the tear gas that was used against migrants at the United States-Mexico border. He purchased the Jacksonville, Florida-based company in 2012 for $124 million.
More than 100 Whitney employees in December signed an open letter calling on the museum’s leadership to respond to Kanders’ link to the crisis at the border.
U.S. fires tear gas across Mexico border to stop migrants
“We are writing to convey our outrage and our frustration and confusion at the Whitney’s decision to stay silent on this matter,” it read.
“First and foremost, some…