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Major Artists Demand LACMA Remove Board Member Who Owns Prison Telecom Company

汤姆·戈尔斯owns a telecom company that “rakes in more than $700 million per year charging egregious rates for phone calls from prisons, jails, and immigrant detention centers.”

(via seaternity on Flickr)

LOS ANGELES — On the morning of Wednesday, September 16, anopen letter was delivered to the leadership of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art(LACMA)敦促博物馆从其董事会删除汤姆戈尔。戈尔是基于山富康的亿万富翁CEO私人股权投资公司Platinum Equity公司,其中,在2017年,购置SECURUS技术,电信公司在700多万$,每年收费从监狱,监狱电话令人震惊的速度是“耙子,和移民拘留中心 - 这主要是从贫困家庭和黑色,棕色,与色彩的土著社区抽走,进一步收缩边缘化人民的迫切资源,”据信基金。

The letter was authored by Los Angeles-based artist and writer Jessica Simmons, and follows in support of a类似的信件上周发送给LACMA领袖from two organizations:变化的颜色, which describes itself as “the nation’s largest online racial justice organization,” and Worth Rises, which is “dedicated to dismantling the prison industry and ending the exploitation of those it touches“。

According to a2019洛杉矶Times文章, “Securus is the second-largest prison telecom by market share, serving 3,400 correctional facilities and handling some 240 million calls” in 2018. Their rates can be as high as $25 for a 15-minute call from jail.

According to Bianca Tylek, the executive director of Worth Rises, this letter is just the latest step in a campaign targeting Gores that has lasted over a year.

“We’ve been trying to get him for some time to take meaningful action,” Tylek told Hyperallergic. “For a while he delayed, and now we’re at a point where he’s run out of time.”

Tylek outlined a series of meetings and negotiations held between Worth Rises and Gores and his team beginning with a March 2019 letter delivered to Gores with three demands: that he sell Securus; that before selling, he implement reforms; and that he commit to never purchasing another asset in the prison industry. Those talks broke down this past January when, according to Tylek, Gores canceled a meeting with families impacted by Securus’s phone call rates at detention centers and prisons. Since then, Tylek says Gores has not returned her emails.

大约在同一时间,戈尔取消了会议,Securus announced reforms旨在打倒整个监狱的电信网络电话的总成本,并表示将提供合同无佣金 - 添加到去监狱和监狱呼叫的价格收费。Tylek觉得改革没有走得足够远,告诉洛杉矶Timesat the timethat “there are plenty of independent actions Securus and Platinum Equity could take to create immediate relief for families, but these would hurt their bottom line.”

The open letter joins a series of campaigns targeting museum board members whose businesses have questionable ethics. In 2019,Warren Kanders,Safariland首席执行官 - 该公司生产这是针对在美国和墨西哥边境的移民使用催泪瓦斯 -resignedfrom the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art after months of protests.Larry Fink,贝莱德,主要投资于武器制造商和私营监狱的CEO,也一直有压力,从现代艺术博物馆(纽约现代艺术博物馆)的董事会辞职。

“These connections between board members and their sources of private wealth have become significant to our community,” Simmons told Hyperallergic. “I thought this was something people in LA would want to know about. This kind of movement hasn’t happened here in our institutions the way it has in NY.”

由于她写下并把信寄出去比一周前少在线,它已经超过100位艺术家,策展人,作家,和其他艺术类专业签字,还在征集签名。有影响力的洛杉矶艺术家,包括安德烈·弗雷泽,萨姆·杜兰特,EJ山,伊芙福勒,保罗Mpagi Sepuya,和莫妮卡马约莉都签署。

“The purpose of this is to target his position at LACMA, a position of prestige,” said Simmons. “Having that disrupted will remove a source of unethical funding from the museum.” A request for comment emailed to LACMA was not returned by press time; however, they告诉洛杉矶Times董事会已收到这封信,并“努力来一起讨论。”留下了Platinum Equity公司的媒体关系部门的消息没有被记者发稿时返回。

对他而言,戈尔,谁也拥有了底特律活塞队,描绘自己作为一个渐进的东西,issuing a statement今年早些时候概述如何在运动队会走向种族平等的工作。在2016年,他在密歇根州弗林特市,并在那里长大的水危机期间承诺对救灾工作千万$。再就是在1月份宣布以降低犯人通话总成本计划的改革。

For the activists who have been trying to work with Gores for the past 18 months, this is perhaps too little, too late.

“Gores loves to say he wants to be a ‘change agent,’” said Tylek. “Changing something from evil to less evil is not a respectable business for someone on a museum board.”

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