America’s arts advocacy chief is forced out

America’s arts advocacy chief is forced out


norman lebrecht

December 21, 2020

The career shmoozer Robert Lynch, head of Americans for the Arts for 35 years and a member of the Biden-Harris transition team, has been forced to step aside from his post after allegations of ‘a toxic atmosphere’.

The allegations are oh-so 2020: bullying, inequality and so on. The timing of Lynch’s removal looks like it was politically manipulated.

Here‘s a blurry account of what may, or may not, have been going on. They’ve called in the Met Opera’s law firm, Proskauer Rose, to do some diligence.

From his Wikipedia entry: ‘Prior to serving as an arts administer, Lynch worked as a freelance journalist, was an English teacher, and played guitar in rock bands.’


  • henry williams says:

    this type of behaviour is usually when the director is not

    • LMFAO! says:

      Another looney Lib who got kicked out after pushing the inclusivity and diversity narrative as a man and a white one at that?? Ha, Ha.

      How EQUALLY impressive he’s part of the Biden-Harris “transition team” as well. He’s done nothing as have Biden-Harris to get the Arts industry WORKING again!

      Why has the president-elect and first ‘black’ vp-elect (according to the agitated, arrogant media) ignored such a once important group of supporters? Guess they’re not so worthy of the dignity of work. Fascinatingly enough, if they were grocery store, big box or other type of left-anointed worker they’d be fine as they’re not even occupancy restricted. So funny.

      It’s sad in a way that the Left has patently left the arts to waste away with no action to work.

      It’s just as well. The arts world is dying by its own hand between how the #antifa, #metoo and #blm riots and revelations canceling their own leaders along with numerous stars. Now there’s no work due to the pandemic so no income. Obviously none of these college educated morons realized that pushing for inclusion and diversity instead of simply doing it without making it so hyper-theatrical included THEM too!

      Heay! All of the leftist nuts who got fired are now #THEMtoo!!

      • Maestro4 says:

        Are you serious? You are blaming the Biden/Harris ticket for the lack of support for the arts? News flash, Skippy, they are not in office yet? Trump is the person who had an opportunity to recognize the arts and support them. What has he done? NOTHING. We have had the most unsophisticated, uncultured waste as president for four years. The lack of support nation-wide is mainly due to having a nation of uneducated people. It’s so sad that you are in that group and don’t even realize it.

        • Saul W. says:

          You’re not an American citizen. You’d clearly realize Biden was previously Obama’s VP for EIGHT YEARS!

          He had all that time to support and learn everything about the arts which was a big part of their former base. They’re mostly broke now so they don’t count anymore. Remind us all of what they each did to financially support and preserve the arts during all that time??? Then out of office, your telling everybody he just dropped everything and stopped supporting or even advocating for all of his pet causes???

          Go ahead, enlighten us all with your education on what Obama-Biden already established dear.

          • William Safford says:

            By your own definition, you must not be an American citizen either.

            Biden helped block Republican efforts to defund what little is left of Federal support for the arts.


            Facts are important.

          • Heil Herr William! says:

            Isn’t the NYT a wonderful propaganda machine??

            They sometimes touch on the TRUTH too. Biden’s ‘87 ‘run’ was given the NYT soft touch in the video here.

            NYT CODES (for the uneducated like Biden):
            Blunder = LIE
            Exaggerate = LIE
            Plagiarism = LIE


            Enjoy your white privileged male, supremacist with his druggie son Hunter “white privileged William”!

            Perhaps you can find proof of what he actually DID for the arts all these years as opposed to what defensive posture he merely took during some obscure vote. Heay! Maybe Hunter cut his coke creatively to reflect Der Ring des Nibelungen??

            Facts are important!

          • William Safford says:

            “Isn’t the NYT a wonderful propaganda machine??”

            And with that, you just lost all credibility.

      • Celeste Goodman says:

        Andrew Cuomo (D) finally had a woman stand up to him too. A former aide, Lindsey Boylan who “should be BELIEVED” as #metoo’er Dems continuously marketed like Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo…well until he got fingered. He’s a #THEMtoo now!

  • sam says:

    Whatever “Americans for the Arts” is (never ever heard of it), whoever its CEO is (never ever heard of him either), he is certainly not “America’s arts advocacy chief” (whatever that is), there being no such position in America (unlike most countries, the US has no “cultural minister”), America being far too diverse to have any single person to claim such a mantle.

    (I mean, what singular person could possibly claim to speak or advocate for jazz, Hollywood, Motown, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Appalachian folk music, LA Opera, New Orleans blues, Saul Bellow, Broadway, Toni Morrison….)

    • V. Lind says:

      Oliver Dowden?

    • V. Lind says:

      Americans for the Arts sounds a lot as if it is just a talk shop. Full of (not entirely useless) positions on the value of the arts to the economy and the like. It is certainly well-heeled — it has an endowment of $100 million (to do what, FCS?). Lynch gets $900,000 a year, and there is a pretty good-sized staff, a healthy board and a huge committee for Business in the Arts. It’s a lobby group.

      From where I am sitting, it does not appear to have achieved more than employment for a bunch of people who like to feel they are on the side of he angels about the arts. It’s an awful lot of money and infrastructure to get someone on TV and in the papers a lot talking about the benefit of the arts, though God knows, someone has to do it, especially in the US. But i Suspect that in the UK just as much would be accomplished by four people and an Amstrad in a Hackney walk-up

      On the other hand, Lynch seems well qualified in arts admin, for all that’s worth — and it is worth something. There are different imperatives to administering non-profits to those of working for profit-makers among the on-profits, there are differences between aid for the starving and staging Aida. But despite his pictures, he must be getting on — he’s been at this game for 45 years or so — and his response rate may be slower than is currently demanded. This culture that is being complained of includes sexism, but you bet your life this has come out of BLM. And a look at his staff seems to me pretty diverse; his outgoing Board Chairman is Hispanic (but that doesn’t count). But other actions apparently have not been quick enough to feed the current demand for a the usual “diversity, equity” and whatever the rest was.

      I think this group is full of air and that what is being spent on and by them could be FAR better employed in the interests of the arts. But I wonder if this man is being targeted pro forma. It will be interesting to see what these reports find.

  • Brian Curtis says:

    I think that Lynch is long overdue to leave. He’s out of step with the field. That said, a lot of what I read in the letter by Jeff Poulin is downright disturbing (including the accusations). First, the idea that board members were immediately fired, well, things just don’t work that way. It takes a vote of the full board and a matter of public record to remove a board member. Maybe they were pressured to resign, but that’s a big difference. Then there’s the matter of “removing” the three or four staff leaders who have been “accused.” Don’t they have a right to due process? If the investigation reveals wrong doing as outlined in Poulin’s letter, then they should be removed. If not, then the board has to make a judgment call. And the accusation of “power hoarding?” WTF? Does Poulin and the signatories mean that the CEO and President, Board chair, should function as they do on a Kibbutz? These are hierarchical organizations and the power is so structured. As long as those in power don’t violate the law, exceed the authority accorded them by the board, or act in ways that is in opposition to the will and directions of the board, well, what exactly is power hoarding? Being a CEO? Having a boss? Is that it? And people wonder why there is the socialist-communist critique of the far left…

  • Patricia says:

    I never heard of him and he seems not to have much background in the arts, so who cares?

    • V. Lind says:

      I think he has substantial background in arts administration. I read him up a bit because I too had never heard of him or his organisation. Check out its website alone — very high gloss. And there is a NY Times story today on his suspension. Eye-opening. Left me wondering, how could a group with so much money achieve so little, including name recognition, and who the hell are all these businesses putting so much money into AFTA, as it is known, and not into the arts, where the money might actually accomplish something?

      As I said above, I suspect Lynch is being politically lynched, but I think his organisation wants greater scrutiny on other fronts than DIE.

  • caranome says:

    You live by the DIE, you die by the DIE (Diversity, Inclusion, Equality).

  • Monty Earleman says:

    $100 million endowment????? What a waste!!!!!

  • Marge O. says:

    another us-ian clown. 330million+ used car salesmen.