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Orlando Museum Director Replaced Over Insult to Academic

June 30, 2022

The Orlando Museum of Art has a new director, in part because the old director sent an insulting email to an academic, The New York Times reported.

Aaron De Groft was removed from the post amid an FBI investigation of 25 works that had been attributed to Jean-Michel Basquiat and had been on display at the museum but whose authenticity has been called into question. The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized the artworks.

De Groft did not respond to requests for comment.

The museum hired an expert, identified by the Times as Jordana Moore Saggese, an associate professor of art at the University of Maryland at College Park. Saggese was paid $60,000 for her written report. She contacted the museum and asked that her name not be associated with the exhibition. At that point, De Groft sent her an email disparaging her.

“You want us to put out there you got $60 grand to write this?” De Groft wrote. “OK then. Shut up. You took the money. Stop being holier than thou … Do your academic thing and stay in your limited lane.”

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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