aileen getty just stop oil

Hang on, did ‘Big Oil’ actually hire actors to throw soup all over the Van Gogh painting?

Mum come pick me up, TikTok’s got its tinfoil hat on again

In another discourse-filled weekend where people had nothing better to do than tweet opinions, activists chucked cans of soup all over a priceless painting.

Let me explain. On Saturday (15th October), several young protestors for Just Stop Oil were filmed throwing – what I can only assume to be Cream of Tomato Soup –  all over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. They’d travelled to the National Gallery in London for the demonstration, and the clip quickly went viral.

The act of defacing a painting with so much meaning behind it, as well as the complete lack of context, baffled a lot of people. Meanwhile, the anti-oil activists clarified their message was: “What is worth more? Art or life?”

Not that any of this actually matters to the conspiracy side of TikTok, obviously. While we’re all arguing whether posh kids should be allowed to deface expensive art or not, TikTokers are characteristically theorising that “Big Oil” are secretly behind the entire stunt; deliberately making activists look bad so we ignore them from now on. But, is it true?

According to the Jerusalem Post, Just Stop Oil is majority-funded by the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), which was founded by a woman called Aileen Getty. The Getty family are HUGE tycoons in the oil industry – as in, they’re collectively worth billions and billions of dollars.

The Getty Oil company are no longer in business, but Aileen is still supposedly set to inherit every penny. To TikTokers, this is enough to speculate whether Just Stop Oil, through Aileen, actually have seedy ties to the oil industry.

Creator MonsterFaceMike claimed “this environmental activist group is just control opposition, they’re trying to make activists look bad so that people are less likely to take action against climate change.”

@monsterfacemike #stitch with @novaramedia conspiracy or not? You decide! #vangogh #climatechange #soup #conspiracy #conspiracytiktok #vincentvangogh #sunflowerspainting #UK #JustStopOil #fyp ♬ original sound – MonsterFaceMike

The thing is, Aileen – alongside all other surviving members of the Getty family – doesn’t actually have any ties to the oil industry whatsoever. Just because someone who previously benefitted from oil is now supporting an anti-oil cause, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a thinly-veiled attempt at control opposition.

In fact, you could go as far as to say it’s a good thing this money is being put towards anti-climate change charities. And there’s no evidence to say the protestors at the National Gallery were actors.

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Featured image via Twitter.