pre-empt a negative backlash

Blue Apple

Senior Member
Persian (Iran)
Does "pre-empt a negative backlash against the show" in the following text mean "to prevent negative backlashes against his show" or "to show reaction to negative backlashes against his show" or "to himself create some kind of backlash against his own show" or something else?

As a former stockbroker, Jeff Koons is used to engaging with the commercial world. The 'Art Magazine Ads' were used to publicise the exhibition of his 'Banality Series' in 1988. Koons used standard advertising techniques to promote his works in art magazines and to pre-empt a negative backlash against the show. Like the exhibition itself, these photographs were deliberately provocative, questioning the merits of 'high art', whilst also endorsing popular culture. With slogans such as "Exploit the Masses / Banality as Saviour", the ads reflected Koons desire to "remove bourgeois guilt and shame in responding to banality" (source).
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Not "prevent", exactly. "Pre-empt" assumes that the backlash will occur, but by pre-empting it, he aimed to mitigate its damaging effects by doing something before the backlash begins.
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