Florida arts organization stands by trustee who runs racist newsletter

The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach says Rip McIntosh has a right to publish what he wants.

A prominent arts organization in Palm Beach, Florida says it’s standing by one of its longtime trustees after it was revealed he runs a shockingly racist email newsletter.

A resident of Palm Beach, Rip McIntosh has been on the board of trustees for The Society of the Four Arts since at least 1993, and it appears he will remain so.

Earlier this month, The Informant and TPM co-published an investigation showing McIntosh ran a newsletter that has produced multiple racist essays in recent months. Among them was an essay that said Black people have “become socially incompatible with other races” and that racial integration in the U.S. was an “experiment” that had failed. McIntosh didn’t write the essays himself, instead publishing the work of a variety of writers.

The investigation focused on McIntosh’s role as an advisor to the massive pro-Trump organization Turning Point USA, but it also mentioned he served as a trustee to two nonprofits.

In the wake of the investigation, McIntosh resigned his position with one of those nonprofits: the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, an organization affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.

The center released a statement to the Casper Star-Tribune in Wyoming saying McIntosh’s newsletter did “not represent or reflect the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s core values or its mission.”

In contrast, the other nonprofit, The Society of the Four Arts, sent a statement recently to The Informant saying McIntosh’s newsletter hasn’t affected his standing there:

The Society of the Four Arts is aware of an adverse opinion expressed about an article published in a newsletter circulated by a Four Arts member and trustee. The member is not the author of the article, and The Four Arts recognizes its members’ First Amendment rights. Neither the author nor the member is writing or posting the article on behalf of or in concert with The Society of the Four Arts.

The member has not resigned nor has been asked to resign.

A spokesperson for the Four Arts said the statement came from the organization’s president, Philip Rylands, and chairman, Randolph Guthrie.

Tax records from 2019 provide a glimpse into the Four Arts’ board of trustees. The records show that both McIntosh and his wife, Susan, were among more than 100 trustees at the time. Other names on the board included former Congressman Philip Ruppe, former Palm Beach Mayor Lesly S. Smith as well as multiple former U.S. ambassadors such as William Lee Lyons Brown Jr. and Howard H. Leach.

The Four Arts isn’t the only organization sticking with McIntosh.

Turning Point USA still lists him on its advisory council. A spokesperson for the group hasn’t responded to a recent message seeking comment.

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