Publisher of disturbingly racist newsletter resigns from 2nd board

Rip McIntosh quit the Society of the Four Arts following an investigation by TPM and The Informant.

At first it looked like Rip McIntosh would weather the storm in his hometown of Palm Beach, Florida.

Almost three weeks ago, the Society of the Four Arts, a prestigious arts organization there, released a statement supporting McIntosh in light of an investigation by TPM and The Informant showing he ran an email newsletter that published shockingly racist essays. McIntosh was one of more than 100 trustees and had been on the board since at least 1993. The organization made it clear he wasn’t going anywhere.

“The Four Arts recognizes its members’ First Amendment rights,” the organization’s president, Philip Rylands, and chairman, Randolph Guthrie, said in a joint statement. “The member has not resigned nor has been asked to resign.”

That changed on Tuesday when McIntosh abruptly quit. His resignation came two days after another prominent local man published an op-ed in the Palm Beach Daily News calling on the organization to “denounce and expel” McIntosh because of his newsletter.

Richard Rampell, a trustee for National Public Radio and a retired accountant who has also been a large donor to the Four Arts, used the op-ed to excoriate the organization for standing by McIntosh.

“While Mr. McIntosh certainly has a First Amendment right to publish his odious opinions, he has no such right to be on the executive committee of Palm Beach’s foremost cultural and literary organization,” Rampell wrote.

News of McIntosh’s resignation was first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News. A spokesperson for the Four Arts confirmed it to The Informant but didn’t respond to follow-up questions. McIntosh did not respond to a request for comment.

In an interview on Wednesday, Rampell said he wrote the op-ed to try to get the Four Arts into doing the right thing. 

“Unlike Donald Trump, who cannot be shamed, the people of the Four Arts really don't like to be accused of being anti-Semites or racist,” Rampell said. “They don't. Publicly, they do not like that.”

When the Four Arts initially stood by McIntosh, Rampell said it brought back memories of discrimination that he and his family have faced in Palm Beach over the years because they are Jewish.

He recalled one instance when his son, who was in kindergarten at the time, wasn’t invited to another child’s birthday party because it was being held at a private club that wouldn’t admit Jews. Other clubs and organizations in town had similar bans of people who were Black or Jewish, he said.

Rampell has something of an activist streak in him and campaigned for years to get such clubs to open up their membership. He had some success, too, although some clubs in Palm Beach still to this day discriminate on who they allow to become members.

These days, at 69 years old, Rampell would rather enjoy his retirement than fight such battles, which he said have made him unwelcome in some circles in Palm Beach. But when he read about McIntosh and the Four Arts, he felt he had to act. He didn’t see anyone else taking up the cause.

“I was amazed that nobody else did, so then I decided I was going to do it,” Rampell said. “What the hell? Make a few more enemies.”

The investigation by TPM and The Informant had focused on McIntosh’s affiliation with Turning Point USA, a major pro-Trump organization to which he serves as an advisor. McIntosh explained that his role with the group was primarily to connect it with wealthy donors in Palm Beach. Editions of his newsletter also included the logo and a fundraising pitch for Turning Point, though the group denied having any role in the publication.

Turning Point appears to be sticking with McIntosh even as others are distancing themselves from him. His name and photo still appear on the group’s website as part of its advisory council. A Turning Point spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

McIntosh’s resignation from the Four Arts came just weeks after he resigned from the board of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Cody, Wyoming. At the time, a spokesperson for the museum released a statement condemning McIntosh’s newsletter and saying it didn’t represent the values or mission of the institution.

McIntosh was also kicked off of Constant Contact, the platform he was using to send out his newsletter. The company’s rules prohibit racism and bigotry. He has since vowed to find a new platform and resume publishing.

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