City Bodies: the Exploitation?
posted by October 16 at 13:14 PMon
The directors of the Seattle Museum of the Mysteries (“a paranormal science museum with exhibits, library, and cultural center exploring legends, lore, UFO history, bigfoot, ghosts… “) have been complaining, in long email missives, about Bodies: the Exhibition, presented by Premier Exhibitions.
That the cadavers haven’t consented. That their origins—in a big Chinese hospital—are suspect. That the glass cases they are in might leak and cause health problems. Et cetera. (And yes, it is a little bit funny that MotM, which hosts ghost tours, is getting exercised about Premier’s “exploitation of the dead,” but there is a difference.)
Now they’ve up and done something about it by filing a federal complain against Premier. The long email missive describing the move follows the jump. An excerpt:
A Minute Order issued by [U.S. District Court] Judge John C. Coughenour did not approve a request for an emergency injunction to stop the exhibit is the movant did not demonstrated “immediate and irreparable harm” but the doctors were informed the complaint will be forwarded to a magistrate and is on permanent file with the courts.
It seems improbable to me that the bodies are murdered Falun Gong members—if I were running a totalitarian state that practiced political assassination, I would do anything with my victims before I would hand them over to doctors from other countries for examination and display. Nevertheless, cheers to the Museum of the Mysteries for keeping the pressure on. There’s no evidence that Premier obtained these bodies illegally or unethically—but then, they haven’t provided any evidence to the contrary.
For Immediate Release
Federal Complaint regarding Seattle Cadaver Exhibit filed against Premier Exhibitions.
The Directors of the Seattle Museum of the Mysteries, Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson have filed a federal complaint Case No. 06-1490 in U.S. District Court Western District of Washington at Seattle on Oct. 13, 2006 against Premiere Exhibitions of Atlanta, Georgia regarding their exhibit of unconsenting cadavers. The complaint is based on the issue that the exhibitors do not have consent papers and the museum Directors feel the exhibitors are violating the U.S. Anatomical Gift Act which explicitly prohibits the sale of human tissue. The complaint cited a statement by Dr. Lynn Romrell Ph.D. Executive Director of the Anatomical Board of the State of Florida in which he states the board rejected the same exhibit last year based on no consent papers were obtained from the deceased and the city of San Francisco's ordinance prohibiting the display of human remains without authorization or consent after a similar type of exhibit was shown in San Francisco last year and enraged the Chinese community.
The Directors also stated they feel Premier Exhibitions is misleading the public by not stating in their advertisement the bodies are all unconsenting Chinese cadavers. The Directors believe visitors have the right to know the facts to decide for themselves as they believe the public would think twice about purchasing a ticket in which they would be viewing unconsenting bodies and furthering this type of trade of human body parts. Premier Exhibitions is a for profit company and is not a medical or educational institution.
The Directors assert that no U.S. physician has endorsed this exhibit. Dr. Roy Glover who is listed as Â³Chief Medical AdvisorÂ² for Â³Bodies: The ExhibitionÂ² is a retired professor of Anatomy from the Univ. of Michigan and is not a physician.
The complaint requested an emergency injunction to close the exhibit Â³until as such time as consent documents are produced for the cadavers as well as the identity of each cadaver for review by any medical institution and requesting parties and verified.Â² Also a stoppage of all advertisements showing cadavers and to initiate a full inquiry into the legality of this exhibit. A Minute Order issued by Judge John C. Coughenour did not approve a request for an emergency injunction to stop the exhibit as the movant did not demonstrate Â³immediate and irreparable harmÂ² but the directors were informed the complaint will be forwarded to a magistrate and is on permanent file with the courts. Charlette LeFevre states she did not file the complaint on her behalf but rather the 21 cadavers now on display . As the cadaverÂ¹s identities are not known and requests for documents verifying their identities have been denied, it is impossible at this time to assess the harm and damage to themselves or their families. But given their country of origin - China and their customs of burying the body whole or they spiritually believe their souls will wander the earth it is reasonable to believe these Chinese cadavers would not have wanted to have been displayed to the public and this would be hugely offensive to the families of the deceased.
The Directors of the Museum believe a formal complaint will encourage other institutions and persons to responsibly review this exhibit and speak out on their position regarding the cadaver exhibit . The Directors encourage anyone who has already seen the show and if they were not informed of the lack of consent of the cadavers in the exhibitÂ¹s advertisement and felt they were misled, to ask for a refund.
For more information contact:
Charlette LeFevre or Philip Lipson
Directors, Seattle Museum of the Mysteries
623 Broadway E Seattle, WA 98012