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Ted Lasso: Rupert's Sackler Reference Didn't Go Unnoticed By Fans

In a landscape where gritty antiheroes overwhelm the entertainment industry, "Ted Lasso" is a refreshing change of pace. Staff writer and actor Brett Goldstein has maintained the goal of taking characters one may not like very much and spinning them into gold. There is always the exception, and that exception is Rebecca's ex-husband, Rupert (Anthony Head).

Never a supportive partner to begin with, Rupert takes every opportunity he can to punish Rebecca. If two seasons of abuse haven't been enough evidence to support Rupert's malice, there are additional lines that prove how reprehensible he is. 

In Season 3, Rupert mentions his holiday plans of vacationing on the Sacklers' boat, who are required to stay 50 miles offshore. Though this was a quick throwaway line, many fans on Reddit caught on quickly.

"Rupert hanging out with the Sacklers was def an interesting detail," u/Zoeyfiona posted in regard to the real-life family. "Tells you all about the kind of person he is," u/ls240898 posted as well. Fans unfamiliar with the Sacklers' activities, such as u/flybyfranky, did a quick Google search to find out why this inclusion was so fitting. As the capitalist family instrumental in the opioid epidemic, this is the exact kind of company that Rupert would keep.

The Sacklers were explored in an eye-opening documentary

For the past decade and some change, the Sackler's company, Perdue Pharma, has been on the wrong end of lawsuits about their product. NPR reported that they faced criminal charges in 2007 and 2020 in light of their marketing strategies for OxyContin. The addictive drug killed thousands of people, and the Sacklers have been accused of knowingly pushing the drug regardless, according to CNN.

After the "Ted Lasso" episode referring to the family aired, Redditors recommended an underrated 2022 movie to anyone interested in learning more.

"'All the Beauty and the Bloodshed' is a really good documentary about that family," u/Octoberjoy posted. The focus of the documentary is on artist and activist Nan Goldin, who details her struggles with opioid addiction and her fight against the family.

"When I got out of treatment, I became absorbed in reports of addicts dropping dead from my drug, OxyContin," Goldin wrote in ArtForum. "I learned that the Sackler family, whose name I knew from museums and galleries, were responsible for the epidemic. This family formulated, marketed, and distributed OxyContin. I decided to make the private public by calling them to task." 

Using museums such as The MET to stage their protests against the family, Goldin's advocacy group, PAIN, made a splash in their efforts to bring attention to the issue. Though written in jest, it isn't hard to see why someone as soulless as Rupert maintains a friendship with the infamous family.