Hobby Lobby, the store that sells picture frames and wicker baskets to your grandmother, was just punished for buying ancient artifacts smuggled out of modern-day Iraq.
Like the villain in the world’s worst Indiana Jones movie (“It belongs in a museum!”), the company snatched up thousands of cuneiform tablets and clay bullae, which were moved through Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and illegally shipped to the United States.
The Department of Justice made Hobby Lobby forfeit the artifacts, worth about $1.6 million, and pay an additional $3 million.
If your reaction to this story was, “Wait, WTF?,” you weren’t alone.
Hobby Lobby looting Iraq was not a story I was expecting but then again this is 2017.
— Gabe Ortíz (@TUSK81) July 5, 2017
Where exactly do they keep the ancient Mesopotamian relics at Hobby Lobby? Is it by the fake roses or the model airplanes?
— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) July 5, 2017
While we’ve been babbling on Twitter, the Hobby Lobby CEO is busy solving some Dan Brown novel stuff with ancient tablets.
— Max Burns (@themaxburns) July 5, 2017
Hobby Lobby is building a damn Stargate
— Pixelated Boat (@pixelatedboat) July 5, 2017
Why might Hobby Lobby be interested in ancient artifacts? Well, the company’s founder, David Green, is the man behind the soon-to-open Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., and he’s been on a bit of an antiquity-buying spree for the last few years.
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, which claimed that covering emergency contraceptives and IUDs for women violated its right to exercise religious freedom
And so, Wednesday, the schadenfreude flowed freely.
Hobby Lobby will only cover Plan B if you steal it.
— Marie Connor (@thistallawkgirl) July 5, 2017
Hobby Lobby to pay $3M in fines for illegally smuggling 5,500 Iraqi artifacts. Maybe now they’ll appreciate the value of having a plan B.
— Funny Or Die (@funnyordie) July 6, 2017
At least Michaels has a new potential slogan: “The arts and crafts store that doesn’t buy smuggled artifacts from Iraq.”