Police arrived at the home of an Oxford-educated museum curator this evening after she tweeted a guide on how to use domestic chemicals to destroy bronze statues in the wake of recent Black Lives Matters protests.
Madeline Odent, the privately schooled curator of Royston Museum in Hertfordshire, sent a series of tweets last night to her 5,164 followers, which were then shared thousands of times.
The American-born banker’s wife gave advice on how to dissolve bronze statues and said that the damage would be ‘irreversible’ and ‘practically impossible to stop’ before saying her next target was ‘marble memorials of racists’ with a picture of Winston Churchill’s plinth.
The officers who attended the property left after nobody answered the bell. Hertfordshire police sources told MailOnline that the matter was being investigated but there also had to be ‘a balance for her safety‘ because of her outspokenness.
Madeline Odent’s home in Hertfordshire was visited by police on Wednesday, following a series of tweets she sent on Tuesday explaining how household chemicals can destroy some statues
Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol pulled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston to the ground on Sunday, before dumping it in the nearby harbour
It comes as demands grow from protesters for statues all over the country to be torn down due to their links to the slave trade and Britain’s colonial past.
Mrs Odent’s remarks on her private account prompted fury online, with several followers posting that they had called the police.
But the moneyed curator dismissed her critics, taunting them by saying ‘my boss has my back’ and that she intends to use her ‘safe platform’ to ‘p*** off some racists’.
Mrs Odent provoked outrage when she shared advice online about defacing statues
American-born Madeline Odent is curator of Royston Museum in Hertfordshire
Mrs Odent published a string of tweets disclosing how to create maximum damage to statues
One of the series of tweets, which attracted many thousands of shares online
Mrs Ordent was unrepentant when members of the public complained about her messages
Mrs Odent has introduced a radical agenda to the sleepy Hertfordshire museum, including a ‘Drag Queens Story Time’
Mrs Ordent married banker Pascal Ordent in 2017, in two lavish ceremonies in Britain and America
WHO IS MADELINE ODENT?
Madeline Odent, née Madeline Briggs
Glamorous curator Madeline Odent, whose maiden name was Madeline Briggs, comes from a wealthy family of American academics and is married to a banker.
The privately-educated curator claims to speak English, Spanish and Welsh. On her social media profile, she says that she brings an ‘entrepreneurial mindset to the museum industry’.
Born in the United States, Madeline – known to her family as ‘Maddy’ – has two sisters, Morgan and Meredith. Her father, Dr Stephen Briggs, a personality psychologist, is the president of Berry College, a private liberal arts college in Georgia. He and her mother, Brenda Morgan Briggs, are old university friends.
Mrs Ordent went to Darlington High School, a private, co-educational boarding school in Georgia. Set in 500 acres of land, the school is based on the English public school system.
After graduating, the firebrand curator attended Stetson University, a private college in Florida, where she became president of the Honor Council and was a keen rower. In 2013, she was named a National Scholar Athlete by the Collegiate Coaches Rowing Association.
In 2014, she graduated with a BA in History, before moving to Britain and taking an MPhil in Early Modern British History at Oriel College, Oxford, two years later.
Pursuing her passion for rowing, she often coxed at Oxford. In one slightly jarring incident, she was sanctioned by university officials even though she claims to have done nothing wrong.
On completing her studies, she returned to the United States, working as a barista in a coffee shop in Georgia. She was then given a job at Berry College, where her father is president, as assistant rowing instructor.
Mrs Odent, right, and her banker husband Pascal,left
In 2017 she married prominent banker Pascal Odent. The couple staged two lavish ceremonies, one in an English country house and the other in the opulent surroundings of her father’s college in Georgia, which sits in 26,400 acres of magnificent landscaped gardens.
The new Mrs Odent went on to spend a year as a self-employed freelance researcher in London, before landing a job as curator and manager at Royston Museum, Hertfordshire, in August 2018.
Since commencing her role in Royston, Mrs Odent has introduced a radical agenda to the museum’s scheduling, including a ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ session. She has a fondness for corgis.
Mrs Odent’s father, Dr Stephen Briggs, a personality psychologist, is president of Berry College, an affluent private liberal arts college in Georgia which boasts the largest college campus in the world. She moved to Britain in 2015.
In the original tweets, which MailOnline is not showing in full, the conservation expert used her knowledge of preserving ancient artefacts to suggest that people use substances found in household products to dissolve public statues.
It is ‘extremely difficult’ to remove the chemicals once they have been applied, she said, adding that ‘it can be done, but the chemical needed is super carcinogenic, so it rarely is’.
‘We haven’t found a way to restore artefacts that this happens to,’ she tweeted. ‘Which is a shame, since we all immediately forget history when statues are destroyed.’
The glamorous curator, who is from an affluent academic family in Georgia, USA, signed off her thread by posting a photograph of Churchill’s defaced plinth, alongside the message: ‘Stay tuned for our next edition, where we’ll be talking about marble memorials of racists’.
Royston Town Council, which funds the museum, told MailOnline that it was ‘investigating’ and would release a statement today. ‘The Town Council does not endorse the comments or views expressed,’ it added.
Many Twitter users slammed Mrs Odent’s posts, threatening to report her to the police. ‘Telling people in detail how to vandalise Churchill’s statue (or others) has got to be promoting hooliganism no matter how she twists it,’ one wrote.
And a spokesman for Hertfordshire Constabulary told MailOnline:
‘We are aware of a series of tweets on a private twitter account, which we believe may relate to damaging statues, and we are currently looking into this matter along with our partner agencies.’
But Mrs Odent was unrepentant, taunting her critics online. In response to members of the public contacting the museum on Twitter, she wrote: ‘a) my boss thinks I’m funny, b) she also supports BLM, and c) I’m the one reading [your direct messages].’
She also claimed that she had negotiated a contract with her employer that allowed her to ‘decolonise and diversify’ the museum, and that her boss had given her a ‘safe platform’ that she would use to ‘p*** off some racists’.
In a further act of provocation, the official museum Twitter account, which Mrs Odent suggested she is controlling, posted: ‘We’ve just tidied up our cellar in case any town needs to remove a statue of a racist and put it somewhere’.
After graduating with an MPhil from Oxford University, Mrs Odent returned to the United States where she worked for a year as an assistant rowing instructor at Berry College, where her father is president.
In 2017, she married banker Pascal Ordent in two lavish ceremonies, one in an English country house and the second in her father’s luxurious college in the United States.
Since taking up her role at Royston Museum in 2018, Mrs Odent, who studied at a private university in Florida before moving to Britain to pursue a postgraduate course in history at Oxford, has introduced a radical agenda to the sleepy Hertfordshire establishment.
In February, she scheduled a ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ event, writing on Facebook: ‘If you’re introduced to difference in a positive way, you’ll respond to difference in a positive way. Thrilled to be putting this on.’ The event has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes as several Labour councils drew up a list of controversial statues in their communities which could be torn down.
Dozens of memorials honouring colonial figures have been targeted for removal by activists, who yesterday crossed another name off their nationwide hit-list.
The monument of 18th Century slave dealer Robert Milligan was uprooted from its spot on West India Quay in London’s docklands to the cheers of spectators.
Many more in the cross-hairs are expected to fall after all 130 Labour-led authorities clubbed together to promise to ‘review the appropriateness of local monuments and statues on public land and council property’.
Several local leaders have already earmarked some statues for removal. Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas threw his weight behind campaigners wanting to get rid of the statue of slave holder Sir Thomas Picton.
Edinburgh council leader Adam McVey said he would feel ‘no sense of loss’ if a statue to Henry Dundas, who delayed the abolition of slavery, was removed.
Plymouth council said a public square named after slave trader Sir John Hawkins would be renamed. Mayor or London Sadiq Khan is also conducting his own review of statues in the capital.
The 130 Labour councils won the blessing of Sir Keir Starmer’s central party, but senior Tories have lined up to admonish the behaviour.
Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, told MailOnline the wave of statue scrutiny was being driven by ‘a politically-correct gang of anarchists who hate everything about this country’.
Campaigners have also set their sights on statues on private property, such as the monument of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University, where yesterday crowds of protesters rallied.
Mrs Odent has been approached for comment.
In February, she scheduled ‘Drag Queen Story Time’, though it had to be postponed
Mrs Odent caused outrage when she tweeted advice on how to destroy statues
The local council, which funds the museum, told MailOnline that it is ‘investigating’
Mrs Odent has been curator of Royston Museum and Art Gallery, pictured, since 2018
Some of the tweets criticising Mrs Odent’s publication of advice on destroying statues
Some social media users called for her to be sacked in response to the tweets she posted