Detroit Pistons owner and Platinum Equity Tom Gores stepped down from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Board of Trustees on Thursday night, following pressure from activists over his investment firm’s ownership of a prison telephone company.
In 2017, Platinum Equity acquired Securus — a company that operates private telephone systems in all 50 states for more than a million prisoners. Gores’ involvement in the prison telecom industry has been met with criticism by various activists, and came to a head in September.
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Last month, two Civil Rights non-profit groups, Colors of Change and Worth Rises, penned a letter to the LACMA calling for Gores’ dismissal. The gesture spurred a second letter supporting Gores’ dismissal that was signed by more than 200 artists and art supporters, some of whom have ties to the museum.
“Today, the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art made it clear that there is no seat at the table for prison profiteers,” Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, said in a statement. “Thanks to this coordinated campaign, Tom Gores was finally removed from LACMA’s Board of Trustees as a result of his dealings in the prison industry. As owner of Securus, Gores has exploited incarcerated people and their families — who are overwhelmingly Black and low-income — with exorbitant fees for prison phone calls. We applaud this resignation, but in order to truly see justice done, Congress must act and approve the Martha Wright