Filed Under: International

Why Getty, billionaires are backing Just Stop Oil, climate activists

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Recent climate protests have targeted masterpieces by Vermeer, Van Gogh and Monet. Environmental groups have gained notoriety in recent weeks with a slew of provocative stunts. Just Stop Oil and Last Generation have been responsible for the most recent high-profile protests.

This new type of activism is gaining international attention, and with it, growing questions over who’s backing them.

Just Stop Oil is open about its funding, saying money comes from the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), founded by Aileen Getty, granddaughter of oil tycoon John Paul Getty. The Gettys are considered the 56th wealthiest family in America, with a net worth of $5.4 billion. So why would billionaires back art vandals?

“I proudly provide funding to the climate emergency fund, which in turn makes grants to climate activists, including Just Stop Oil,” Getty said in a recent op-ed in The Guardian.

Getty has donated a reported $1 million to CEF since she established the non-profit back in 2019 with producer and activist Rory Kennedy, youngest child of Robert F. Kennedy.

According to Mother Jones, Just Stop Oil is the biggest recipient of CEF funds this year. It reportedly received $1.1 million out of a total $4 million in grants dispersed to dozens of climate organizations across the world, including Last Generation and another environmentalist group known as Extinction Rebellion.

According to the CEF website, its goal is to provide legal support and other assistance for climate activists engaged in nonviolent protests. The non-endowed fund makes most of its money through fundraising, and it provides grants with 85% of that money. Grant size is determined by the funding needed, but it says most of the grants it doles out are between $30,000 and $80,000. Since CEF was founded in 2019, it has funded 91 organizations, trained more than 22,000 climate activists and mobilized over 1 million activists.

Getty said, as the daughter of a famous family who built its fortune on fossil fuels, she’s dedicated to using her resources to protect life on earth. And though she publicly applauded the splashing of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ earlier this month, Getty said she has no control over how the activists she’s funding choose to protest.

CROWD: “shame on you. Obscene! Oh no. Shame on you!

MAHMOUD BENNETT: VERMEER, VAN GOGH, AND MONET.

RECENTLY – FINE ART HAS BEEN THE TARGET OF CLIMATE PROTESTS. ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS GAINING NOTORIETY IN RECENT WEEKS WITH A SLEW OF PROVOCATIVE STUNTS.

ACTIVIST: “What is worth more, art or life?”

BENNETT: THERE ARE 2 MAIN GROUPS BEHIND THESE RECENT ACTS – JUST STOP OIL – AND LAST GENERATION. 

ACTIVIST: “We are in a climate catastrophe!”

BENNETT: THEY’RE USING ART GALLERIES AS THEIR VENUE.

ACTIVIST: “My generation has no other choice than to take this kind of action.”

BENNETT: THIS NEW TYPE OF ACTIVISM IS GAINING INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION, AND WITH IT – GROWING QUESTIONS OVER WHO’S BACKING THEM.

ACTIVIST: “Right here right now is where we draw the line and change is coming whether you like it or not.”

BENNETT: JUST STOP OIL IS OPEN ABOUT THEIR FUNDING. SAYING MONEY COMES FROM THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY FUND (CEF), FOUNDED BY AILEEN GETTY, GRANDDAUGHTER OF OIL TYCOON JOHN PAUL GETTY. 

THE GETTYS ARE CONSIDERED THE 56TH WEALTHIEST FAMILY IN AMERICA, WITH A NET WORTH OF $5.4 BILLION. 

SO WHY WOULD BILLIONAIRES BACK ART VANDALS? 

“I PROUDLY PROVIDE FUNDING TO THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY FUND, WHICH IN TURN MAKES GRANTS TO CLIMATE ACTIVISTS…INCLUDING JUST STOP OIL”, GETTY SAID IN A RECENT OP-ED IN THE GUARDIAN.

GETTY HAS DONATED A REPORTED ONE-MILLION DOLLARS TO C-E-F, SINCE SHE ESTABLISHED THE NON-PROFIT BACK IN 2019 WITH PRODUCER AND ACTIVIST RORY KENNEDY, YOUNGEST CHILD OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY. 

ACCORDING TO MOTHER JONES, JUST STOP OIL IS THE BIGGEST RECIPIENT OF CEF FUNDS THIS YEAR, WITH $1.1 MILLION OUT OF A TOTAL $4 MILLION IN GRANTS DISPERSED TO DOZENS OF CLIMATE ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS THE WORLD INCLUDING LAST GENERATION AND ANOTHER ENVIRONMENTALIST GROUP KNOWN AS EXTINCTION REBELLION. 

ROGER HALLAM: “There’s been significant changes about what we know of the horrors to come. 

ROGER HALLAM IS A CO-FOUNDER OF EXTINCTION REBELLION. HE SAYS THEIR MESSAGE IS CLEAR.

HALLAM: “You don’t have a choice, right? You don’t have a choice. You have to enter resistance and you have to go to prison. That’s what you have to do.”

ACTIVIST: “I’m doing this for my son!”

BENNETT: ACCORDING TO THE CEF WEBSITE, THEIR GOAL IS TO PROVIDE LEGAL SUPPORT AND OTHER ASSISTANCE FOR

CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ENGAGED IN NONVIOLENT PROTEST.

ACTIVIST: “If we go down at least we go down fighting.”

BENNETT: THE NON-ENDOWED FUND MAKES MOST OF ITS MONEY THROUGH FUNDRAISING. AND THEY PROVIDE GRANTS WITH 85% OF THAT MONEY. GRANT SIZE IS   DETERMINED BY THE FUNDING NEEDED. BUT THEY SAY MOST OF THE GRANTS THEY DOLE OUT ARE BETWEEN $30,000 – $80,000.

SINCE CEF WAS FOUNDED IN 2019, THEY HAVE FUNDED 91 ORGANIZATIONS, TRAINED MORE THAN 22,000 CLIMATE ACTIVISTS AND MOBILIZED OVER A MILLION.

GETTY SAYS AS THE DAUGHTER OF A FAMOUS FAMILY WHO BUILT THEIR FORTUNE ON FOSSIL FUELS, SHE’S DEDICATED TO USING HER RESOURCES TO PROTECT LIFE ON EARTH. 

AND THOUGH SHE PUBLICLY APPLAUDED THE SPLASHING OF VAN GOGH ‘SUNFLOWERS’ EARLIER THIS MONTH, SHE SAID SHE HAS NO CONTROL OVER HOW THE ACTIVISTS SHE’S FUNDING CHOOSE TO PROTEST.

Recent climate protests have targeted masterpieces by Vermeer, Van Gogh and Monet. Environmental groups have gained notoriety in recent weeks with a slew of provocative stunts. Just Stop Oil and Last Generation have been responsible for the most recent high-profile protests.

This new type of activism is gaining international attention, and with it, growing questions over who’s backing them.

Just Stop Oil is open about its funding, saying money comes from the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), founded by Aileen Getty, granddaughter of oil tycoon John Paul Getty. The Gettys are considered the 56th wealthiest family in America, with a net worth of $5.4 billion. So why would billionaires back art vandals?

“I proudly provide funding to the climate emergency fund, which in turn makes grants to climate activists, including Just Stop Oil,” Getty said in a recent op-ed in The Guardian.

Getty has donated a reported $1 million to CEF since she established the non-profit back in 2019 with producer and activist Rory Kennedy, youngest child of Robert F. Kennedy.

According to Mother Jones, Just Stop Oil is the biggest recipient of CEF funds this year. It reportedly received $1.1 million out of a total $4 million in grants dispersed to dozens of climate organizations across the world, including Last Generation and another environmentalist group known as Extinction Rebellion.

According to the CEF website, its goal is to provide legal support and other assistance for climate activists engaged in nonviolent protests. The non-endowed fund makes most of its money through fundraising, and it provides grants with 85% of that money. Grant size is determined by the funding needed, but it says most of the grants it doles out are between $30,000 and $80,000. Since CEF was founded in 2019, it has funded 91 organizations, trained more than 22,000 climate activists and mobilized over 1 million activists.

Getty said, as the daughter of a famous family who built its fortune on fossil fuels, she’s dedicated to using her resources to protect life on earth. And though she publicly applauded the splashing of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ earlier this month, Getty said she has no control over how the activists she’s funding choose to protest.


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