Before the show aired, Ms. Sackler, who is married to a son of a company co-founder, emailed her in-laws, lawyers and advisers. “This situation is destroying our work, our friendships, our reputation and our ability to function in society,” she wrote.
“And worse, it dooms my children. How is my son supposed to apply to high school in September?”
The Sackler family, with its competing branches, has long been fractious. The arrival of nearly 2,000 lawsuits accusing its company of helping to spark a public-health crisis in America has forced the family to a crossroads as it weighs the future of a company that helped make its members wealthy.
For years the Sacklers avoided being publicly linked to the opioid crisis and OxyContin, a prescription painkiller containing a morphine derivative called oxycodone. They cultivated an image as global philanthropists, donating millions to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University and scores of other institutions both in the U.S. and abroad.
The host of lawsuits, some of which name as defendants many individual Sacklers who served on Purdue’s board, has unraveled the family’s standing in philanthropic, academic and financial circles. Family members have been leaving the boards of nonprofits. Prestigious museums and universities are rejecting their donations. Some investment funds are returning their money.
The backlash has intensified infighting among family members, whose disagreements have threatened efforts to resolve the litigation, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and to interviews with dozens of current and former Purdue employees and people who have spoken with the Sacklers.”
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