Furious social media users are threatening to ‘boycott’ British supermarket chain Sainsbury's over unsubstantiated rumours of a link between owner Lord Sainsbury and a London museum that had a statue of a slave trader removed from its premises.
Yesterday, the Tower Hamlets local authority oversaw the removal of a statue of 18th century merchant Robert Milligan, whose family fortune was made from a Jamaican sugar plantation where over 500 black people were enslaved.
Milligan’s statue had stood outside the Museum of London Docklands, in East London.
However, a number of angry people are now bizarrely calling for a boycott of supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, over an unsubstantiated and tenuous link made by several Twitter users.
One such claim was posted by a Twitter user with the handle @MrMasonMills.
Writing on Tuesday evening, Mills said:
The statue of Robert Milligan was removed from West India Quay after the Museum of London demanded that it's owners remove it.
Government had no involvement.
The Museum is funded by the Sainsbury family.
Lord Sainsbury, a Labour peer, spent nearly £8m trying to stop Brexit.
The post has been retweeted over 3,000 times.
The rumour has now spread, causing several to say they will be “boycotting” Sainsbury’s.
“I will not [be] going to Sainsbury’s again,” read one typical post.
“Well that's Sainsburys off my list,” another Twitter user wrote. “It's my nearest local too so the extra walk to the next shop will do me good. #BoycottSainsburys”.
However, there seems to be little evidence linking Sainsbury’s, or its owner, to the museum.
Financial records suggest the museum is primarily funded by the Greater London Authority, the City of London Corporation, Arts Council England.
Furthermore, the decision to remove Robert Milligan’s statue seems to have ultimately come from Tower Hamlets local authority, after a campaign by the Canal & River Trust.
It is not certain how much say the Museum of London Docklands had in the decision, although it tweeted in support and said it was “advocating” for the statue's removal.
indy100 reached out to the Museum of London for comment. A Museum of London spokesperson said:
The Museum of London advocated for the removal of the Robert Milligan statue working closely with Tower Hamlets Council and the Canal & River Trust who are the local authority and the land owner respectively. This decision was made independently of our sponsors and donors.