Fake Blood Protest at Whitney Museum of American Art Targets Billionaire Trustee

Protesters demand the resignation of former trustee Ken Griffin following his criticism of pro-Palestinian activism

In a dramatic display of protest, the main entrance of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York was splattered with fake blood during a march for Gaza on November 22. The act, captured in a video shared by the Palestinian-American youth movement Within Our Lifetime, shows red paint dripping from the museum’s front steps and revolving glass door while protesters wave Palestine flags in the distance. The demonstration targeted former trustee Ken Griffin, an American hedge fund billionaire who had been vocal in his criticism of pro-Palestinian activism. This incident raises questions about the role of wealthy individuals in cultural institutions and the intersection of politics and art.

Ken Griffin’s Controversial Stance and Harvard Ties

Ken Griffin, the billionaire hedge fund manager, had served on the board of trustees at the Whitney Museum until July of this year. Prior to his departure, Griffin had garnered attention for his opposition to a pro-Palestinian letter signed by student groups at his alma mater, Harvard University. As one of Harvard’s largest donors, Griffin’s criticism of the letter sparked controversy. The billionaire, whose net worth is estimated at $34 billion, has made significant contributions to the university, including a $300 million gift that led to the naming of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences after him. His involvement in the museum’s board and his philanthropic ties to Harvard have made him a figure of interest in the art world.

Warren Kanders’ Resignation and Griffin’s Departure

This incident at the Whitney Museum echoes a previous controversy involving another billionaire trustee, Warren Kanders. In 2019, Kanders, who was the museum’s vice chair, faced months of protests due to his company’s connection to the use of tear gas against civilians worldwide, including asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border. The outcry eventually led to Kanders’ resignation. During this time, Griffin reportedly considered resigning from the board in solidarity with Kanders but ultimately chose to remain. However, Griffin quietly stepped down from his position this summer, leaving behind his name on the museum’s lobby walls.

Calls for Griffin’s Resignation and Examination of the Board

Within Our Lifetime, the Palestinian-American youth movement responsible for the protest, demanded that Griffin resign or be expelled from the Whitney Museum’s board immediately. They argue that his association with the institution and his controversial political contributions make him unfit to hold such a position. While some commenters pointed out that Griffin had already stepped down, they suggested further scrutiny of other hedge fund billionaires who remain on the board. The call for accountability extends beyond Griffin and highlights the need for a comprehensive evaluation of the museum’s trustees.


The fake blood protest at the Whitney Museum of American Art has brought attention to the role of wealthy individuals in cultural institutions and the potential conflicts that can arise. Ken Griffin’s departure from the board following his criticism of pro-Palestinian activism raises questions about the influence of money and politics in the art world. As demands for accountability and transparency grow, it becomes crucial for institutions to carefully consider the values and actions of their trustees. The incident serves as a reminder that art and politics are deeply intertwined, and the actions of those involved in the art world can have significant consequences.






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