More than 300 scientists and academics want President Trump ally and Breitbart News backer Rebekah Mercer to resign from the board of the American Museum of Natural History, citing donations to groups that deny climate change. Through the Mercer Family Foundation, Mercer and her father, hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, have donated millions to groups skeptical of climate change science, including almost $6 million to the Heartland Institute since 2008, reports the New York Times. "We are concerned that the vital role of science education institutions will be eroded by a loss of public trust if museums are associated with individuals and organizations known for rejecting climate science," reads the nonprofit museum's open letter, now endorsed by more than 300 climate scientists, ecologists, and other academics.
The letter—which comes after employees filed complaints about Mercer last March—stresses Mercer "nominated climate denier Arthur Robinson" for national science adviser and calls on the AMNH "to end ties to anti-science propagandists and funders of climate science misinformation." But the museum, which faced a similar effort to remove David Koch from its board in 2015, isn't swayed. "Human-induced climate change … is one of the most serious issues currently facing our planet," but AMNH "does not make appointment decisions concerning staff or trustees based on political views," and "its funders do not shape its curatorial decisions," it says, per Hyperallergic. Some doubt that's the case, though, after an Exxon-funded museum exhibit was recently found to include misleading information on climate science. The museum says it will correct the "outdated" info. (Read more scientists stories.)