Crystal Bridges Museum the victim of apparent Wal-Mart email hoax

A view of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

April Fool’s Day is four months away, but someone has clearly gotten an early start. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., is the victim of an apparent email hoax linking founder and Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton with workers from the big-box retailer.

The email sent Wednesday said the museum would close its doors Friday in sympathy for Wal-Mart workers who are planning demonstrations over the holiday weekend.

A museum spokeswoman said that all information in the release is false. She said the museum is open Friday.

The fake email quotes Walton saying she and the museum “have decided to stand with the workers of Wal-Mart, the source of my family’s fortune, in their Black Friday strikes, walkouts and picket.”


Walton, the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, created the museum in 2005. The museum opened its doors to the public in 2011.

Workers at Wal-Mart stores around the country have organized strikes and other forms of demonstration for Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. They are protesting what they claim to be the Wal-Mart’s unfair labor practices. In the past, the retailer has been hostile to the idea of a unionized workforce.

The email hoax Wednesday featured the website, which does not appear to be affiliated with the museum in any way. The fake message also stated the museum will host “a special temporary exhibition on labor in American art” that will open Saturday. No such exhibition appears on the museum’s schedule.

The identity of the pranksters remains unclear. The site ArtInfo said the group may be the same people who created fake news releases in protest of the Whitney Museum’s 2012 biennial.



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