The New York Academy of Art is at the centre of damning allegations by an ex-student and Epstein abuse survivor, Maria Farmer.
Ms Farmer said her former dean of school & now head of the board, Eileen Guggenheim, was alleged to have trafficked students to the pedophile’s New Mexico ranch, a claim the academic disputes.
The academy apologised in August for a victim-blaming report it issued about Ms Farmer on the day before Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested.
But Ms Farmer says they haven’t apologised directly to her.
The report said the survivor “ignored this and the many other red flags, which would have suggested to a reasonable person that introducing her 15-year-old sister to Epstein might end badly.”
The academy asked Guggenheim to retain her position as chair of the board of trustees.
In July, President David Kratz said to ArtNews: “It is time for the school to close the book on this issue,” he says.
“It drained a significant amount of time, energy, and financial resources over the past year that would otherwise have gone to the benefit of our students. Our reputation was assaulted, our staff and faculty were harassed, and, despite having dedicated the past 30 years to helping the school thrive, our board chair was subjected to unfair public attacks. We stand with all victims of abuse and believe their voices should be heard. But, in this case, the academy was not the perpetrator.”
The art school later issued the “profound apology” after three board members resigned in July due to the attack on the whistleblower.
The school’s alumni is also up in arms about the content of the publication authored by its legal firm. Four board directors have resigned in disgust.
According to ArtNews: “… three members of the academy’s board—Ippolita Rostagno, Alina Lundry, and Valerie Cooper—resigned en masse. Two weeks earlier, the actress Naomi Watts also resigned from the board. Their decisions were a result of the school’s handling of Farmer’s allegations, according to an alum.”
But the academy was unapologetic about its relationship with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein that it still shows him browsing art in a promotional video. Ghislaine Maxwell also attended in 2009 a fundraiser for the academy.
Epstein, who died last year in jail, was a long-term supporter of the academy and had sat on its board from 1987 to 1994.
An unknown blonde female can be seen viewing art with the now-dead sex abuser at the academy’s 2014 Tribeca Ball. According to the academy, he also donated $30,000 to the school that same year.
Two former art students who visited Jeffrey Epstein’s ranch told Artnews they were pressured to play games that involved “sexual objects” with Epstein and his accused co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell when they visited his home.
It issued the report in July, written by its lawyers, which attacked Ms Farmer’s claims. The report was dropped the day before Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested.
Tainted money and tainted donations are matters of controversy in the non profit world. Was Epstein trying to whitewash his criminal record through this support?
We have serious concerns about the business ethics and practises of the academy due to its long association with Jeffrey Epstein.
The New York attorney general has written to us to say they are looking into whether the claims warrant investigation.
Here’s a press release Epstein put out in 2012 about his support of the academy.