After the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, fallout from before and after Brexit continues to be revealed. According to a report by the Guardian, the famed British classicist and University of Cambridge professor Mary Beard was blocked last year from a seat on the board of the British Museum by the office of former Prime Minister Theresa May. The publication reports that Beard, who had voiced support for the U.K. remaining in the E.U., was rejected for the position on account of her political views.
However, the British Museum is likely to directly add Beard to its board of trustees, bypassing the conventional process that gives Downing Street a degree of power over most of the institution’s board appointments. Sir John Tusa, a former British Museum board member, told the Guardian that Downing Street’s move to bar Beard from the board is “an absolute scandal.”
The Guardian reports that the British Museum “is understood to be upset because the rejection of Beard seems to contradict its longstanding relationship with government,” which has been historically distant, according to the museum.
Beard told BBC2 that “there are cock-ups and conspiracies. I’m not, however, going to diss Boris Johnson or the Department of Culture.”
Reached by ARTnews, the British Museum declined to comment.
News of Beard’s contested appointment to the British Museum’s board is not the only controversy to come from the institution lately. Last month, the climate activist group BP or Not BP staged a weekend-long protest at the institution, calling on it to cut ties with the oil company.