Serpentine art CEO quits amid criticism of spyware firm link

June 18, 2019 - 11:58 am

LONDON (AP) — The CEO of London's Serpentine Galleries has quit amid what she calls "toxic personal attacks" over her husband's involvement in an Israeli spyware firm.

Yana Peel, who has overseen the two Serpentine galleries for three years, said the criticism was based on "inaccurate media reports."

A private equity firm co-founded by Peel's husband Stephen is majority stakeholder in NSO Group, maker of Pegasus software. Rights campaigners say Pegasus has been used by authoritarian regimes to spy on citizens.

Peel, a longtime free-speech advocate, claimed Tuesday that "bullying and intimidation" might lead wealthy donors to stop funding arts institutions.

She said "I welcome debate and discussion about the realities of life in the digital age ... but they should be constructive, fair and factual - not based upon toxic personal attacks."