The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston announced Friday that it would ban and issue cease-and-desist letters to visitors found to have made racist comments to visiting seventh-graders earlier this month. After the school’s principal spoke out about what he described as racist treatment of students of the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy by both fellow visitors and staff, the museum said it conducted an internal investigation into the school’s visit that included both in-depth interviews and the review of security footage. “The MFA has determined that Museum visitors made racist comments to DLA students on two separate occasions. We have identified the patrons who made the disparaging remarks and revoked their membership, banning them from the Museum’s grounds. We will serve them with a no-trespass cease-and-desist notification,” the museum’s public relations director, Karen Frascona, said in a statement. One of the museum's visitors had reportedly told a female student of color to pay attention otherwise she might end up becoming a stripper when she grows up.
The museum also said an employee who was accused of telling students “no food, no drinks, and no watermelon” during their visit said he’d actually said “no food, no drinks, and no water bottles.” While the museum said it could not definitively prove what was said, it said it would implement additional training for staffers “to ensure the comfort and safety of all visitors and staff.”