The Sackler family might be the most contemptible in all of America, if not the world. You wouldn’t know that, however, if your only introduction to the family was a new Observer profile about Joss Sackler and her $2,500-per-year club for women (but not just women) where “wine is queen.”
The Sacklers are the family behind Purdue Pharma, better known as the company which manufactures OxyContin. Before the public knew just how addictive the opioid was, the company launched a campaign designed to make it the only pain reliever Americans ever thought to reach for. From a great New Yorker profile on the family in 2017:
Purdue launched OxyContin with a marketing campaign that attempted to counter this attitude and change the prescribing habits of doctors. The company funded research and paid doctors to make the case that concerns about opioid addiction were overblown, and that OxyContin could safely treat an ever-wider range of maladies. Sales representatives marketed OxyContin as a product “to start with and to stay with.” Millions of patients found the drug to be a vital salve for excruciating pain. But many others grew so hooked on it that, between doses, they experienced debilitating withdrawal.
Joss Sackler, who is fresh off a full-blown meltdown at the New York Times for daring to mention her family connections, is married to David Sackler, one of three children of Richard Sackler, a former president of the company.
On Thursday, STAT and ProPublica published a sealed court deposition of Richard Sackler, with emails showing his support “to conceal OxyContin’s strength from doctors.” Kentucky settled that lawsuit with Purdue for $24 million in 2015, but the state of Massachusetts has launched its own lawsuit against Purdue and the Sackler family, claiming that the family (which has made billions off of the drug) supported a plan to ramp up sales representatives’ visits to prescribers of OxyContin after profits dipped in the fourth quarter of 2013. Yes, 2013. (David is named in the lawsuit.)
The body count of this family is in the thousands, if not the hundreds of thousands. You would not know that if all you knew about the Sacklers was their blood money philanthropy at places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art (pictured above), or if all you read about the family was this bullshit-ass Observer profile of Joss, which pays the least possible amount of lip service to the crisis caused by Purdue while also calling the Sacklers “widely philanthropic.” From the profile:
Joss Sackler is a member of the latter, having belonged to a number of wine societies that were simply too stuffy for her taste. But the 34-year-old longed for the community that comes with those member’s only scenes, along with the entertaining events that they hosted. So she decided to launch one of her own in 2016, naming it LBV and anointing it a women’s only affair. After all, her beloved wine societies notoriously feature a crowd that is predominantly male; the only women that attend their black-tie dinners are wives and girlfriends.
“It started off really small, like five of us would get together for dinners,” Sackler told Observer about LBV, over a spread of tea and strawberry ice cream at The Pembroke Room in the Lowell Hotel. “We would do wine pairings with fine dining and take turns hosting it at each other’s homes. In the beginning, it was about five of us, but it quickly grew to 12.”
You know what really goes well with a red? The tears of people weeping for their lost loved ones.
Even if this club wasn’t started by someone whose family profits off of raw human suffering, it’d be the most insufferable gathering of people of all time (emphasis mine):
The members, who range in age from their early 20s to their mid-70s, are split into two distinct tiers. Core members shell out $2,500 per year in dues and are given first access to LBV’s four annual dinners. Secondary members, who are on the Social Tier, pay just $500 annually and tend to stick to the more casual events, which have included private workouts at Dogpound, a pre-NYFW showroom visit with designer Prabal Gurung and a wine and food pairing dinner with Michelin-Star Chef Gunter Seeger. While having a stacked wine cellar is certainly a plus among the LBV crew, Sackler maintains that it’s not required for membership.
However, it’s the lavish dinners that are the biggest draw for members. LBV was the first to hold an event in the private room at the freshly renovated Four Seasons in September 2018. For that feast, Sackler had the vision to recreate the sparse outline of a house from Fergie’s “Enchanté” music video, which starred Kendall Jenner and was directed by Bruno Ilogti. But rather than tapping some major production company, Joss hired the super of her Manhattan building to construct the entire art installation. Another dinner served as a screening for the VR documentary Capturing Everest. Guests donned VR headsets and watched the film on the rooftop of the Wythe Hotel to celebrate the feast in honor of the film’s stars: Lisa Thompson, the first all-American woman to summit K2 (who is an LBV member), Garrett Madison, the “it” mountain guide for those with adventurous hearts and money to spend, and videographer Andrew Tierney.
Lest you think that Joss or the other Sacklers are just a little too high-society, here’s a reminder that they’re just like us:
“She’s got three young kids, but she’s also real careful about being a mom,” explained LBV member Brian Jacobowski. “When they fly they take JetBlue, because they don’t want the kids to feel entitled or privileged, but that means her and her husband have to fly JetBlue!”
JetBlue, can you imagine??? By the way, over 40,000 people died of prescription opioid overdoses in 2017.
Fuck off forever to this person, her stupid-ass wine club, and her horrible, evil family.