Another One Bites The Dust: Joi Ito, MIT, and Jeffrey Epstein

I haven’t said anything here about events at my home institution, MIT around the news that Joi Ito, the director of the ‘tute’s Media Lab had taken donations for the lab and cash for investments under his control from Jeffrey Epstein — after his conviction for various forms of the sexual predation of girls and very young women.

That’s for two reasons: for one, a sprint through the first week of the semester and a simultaneous dash through the second submission draft of a book manuscript (completed just this afternoon), and for the other a desire to pursue my concerns with MIT faculty officers and the administration before saying anything in public.

I haven’t done that yet, but Ronan Farrow’s devastating report for The New Yorker, published last night, has made the conversations I thought I might have moot, while opening up new questions to be pursued going forward.

Here’s a sample of Farrow’s reporting:

The financial entanglement revealed in the documents goes well beyond what has been described in public statements by M.I.T. and by Ito…

The documents and sources suggest that there was more to the story. They show that the lab was aware of Epstein’s history—in 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution—and of his disqualified status as a donor. They also show that Ito and other lab employees took numerous steps to keep Epstein’s name from being associated with the donations he made or solicited. On Ito’s calendar, which typically listed the full names of participants in meetings, Epstein was identified only by his initials. Epstein’s direct contributions to the lab were recorded as anonymous. In September, 2014, Ito wrote to Epstein soliciting a cash infusion to fund a certain researcher, asking, “Could you re-up/top-off with another $100K so we can extend his contract another year?” Epstein replied, “yes.” Forwarding the response to a member of his staff, Ito wrote, “Make sure this gets accounted for as anonymous.” Peter Cohen, the M.I.T. Media Lab’s Director of Development and Strategy at the time, reiterated, “Jeffrey money, needs to be anonymous. Thanks.”

In the wake of that story Ito has now resigned as director and professor of the practice at MIT. He has also quit the boards of the MacArthur Foundation and The New York Times, with, I’m sure, more to drop.

Much of Farrow’s reporting reveals a director and members of his staff gone rogue.  MIT’s central fund raising apparatus had already listed Epstein as a disqualified donor, meaning the Institute and its members weren’t supposed to seek or accept funds from him, and Ito and his team consciously worked to circumvent that restriction.

That’s good for MIT and its central leadership: it shows that the major donors people had already reached the right conclusion about reputation-washing for Epstein and had, they thought, shut it down. Still, though it looks like internal safeguards were in place, I’ve still got some questions.

For example:  how could a major center at MIT evade reporting on donors? What is the process for such reporting?  Was the policy subverted by Ito and the Media Lab? Was it ineffective, failing to ask the right questions? Was there any active failure on the part of the central administration office overseeing fund raising by the Media Lab (and other autonomous self-governing regions w/in MIT)?

Additionally, the fact that Ito raised funds both for the center he ran and his private business bugs me.  MIT has a pretty relaxed policy on outside professional activities by its faculty and other members, but there is both required disclosure (I and every faculty member has to file an OPA report every year) and an explicit conflict of interest policy that is supposed to be more rigorous for senior people like directors of centers and labs.  Did he report his business activities, including soliciting investments? Did any of his actions violate MIT’s COI policy? Were such violations included in whatever disclosures he did make? If so, how did they slip by? If not, what needs to happen, if anything, to prevent such COI?

We may get some answers.  After earlier announcing that the investigation into Ito’s relationship with Epstein would be internal, and intended to discover lessons for the future, the Institute’s president, Rafael Reif sent out an all-comers email that reads in part:

Because the accusations in the story are extremely serious, they demand an immediate, thorough and independent investigation. This morning, I asked MIT’s General Counsel to engage a prominent law firm to design and conduct this process. I expect the firm to conduct this review as swiftly as possible…

That’s good; I hope the investigators get as broad a brief as they need. It’s important to establish who knew and did what when, both inside the Media Lab and in the reporting chain within central administration. And when I say “important,” I don’t mean just in a retributive justice sense.

MIT has come a long way in the last fifty years, and the last twenty, to transform itself from an almost all-male institution to one in which women can flourish.  For the last several years, roughly half of MIT’s incoming undergraduate classes have been women.  Since 2000, MIT has put into place several affirmative policies to improve recruitment, retention and the opportunities open to women faculty.  And every year we welcome another five or six hundred female teenagers to campus.

The willing, eager association with a convicted sexual predator and the willingness of senior and very  high profile MIT figures to trade reputation-gilding for cash says something loud and clear to those newest young women at MIT, and to everyone else here as well.  That’s the message that has to be unwritten — more, it needs to be condemned by word and action.

Last…this has been something of an inside baseball kind of post, but as Anand Giridharadas (@anandwrites) has been aruing, it’s a crash course in the reality of a supra-national rich boys club that owes allegiance to no nation or institution.  Epstein was protected and rewarded by his ability to associate with high profile people and organizations — a protection purchased with cold cash, not any contribution of ideas or intellect.  He was a sexual criminal, so it’s easy to see how this charmed circle dynamic is malign.

But the same dynamic protects bad ideas, distortion of work, the exercise of unmerited power in all kinds of domains, as very rich individuals choose what they want to pay for (and what the polities they control or overwhelmingly influence should pursue). And, as Giridharadas has emphasized over and over again (and not just him, of course) those .01 percenters are loyal to the Republic of Wealth, and not the United States, or MIT or whatever.

It’s easy (as well as obviously right) to condemn Epstein and those he suborned.  But he’s far from the only problem.

Open thread.






66 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    OT: Speaking of “Another One bites the dust” — Cole has been injured.

    By a watermelon. Allegedly. Has spent quality time at Urgent Care today, per his twitter feed.

    WRT Epstein: I wish he had lived to face justice.

  2. 2
    zhena gogolia says:

    Thanks for this post — I’ve been thinking of you. It’s a shame that a great institution may be damaged by this. Some of my best friends are MIT alums!

  3. 3
    Brachiator says:

    A repost from an earlier thread. Perhaps some tangential relevance to Epstein and other cases.

    OT. From BBC News

    The Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, has taken the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival.

    Director Todd Phillips’ film about the comic villain, starring Joaquin Phoenix, is already being tipped for the Oscars.

    Roman Polanski won the Grand Jury Prize for An Officer and a Spy, despite controversy over of its inclusion.

    The director was convicted of statutory rape in 1978 and has faced various other allegations of sexual assault .

    Actually, it’s Joker, not The Joker. The film’s win will rattle comic book nerds, because some people associated with the film go out of their way to say that the film is a “serious, adult film, not a silly film about capes and tights.”

    Polanski’s win is another “purity of art” swipe at supposedly petty middle class conventions about morality. So what if Polanski raped a girl. He’s an artist.

    ETA. Yes, Polanski has made great films. My personal choice, for what it’s worth, is that I will not watch his films until after he has died. Silly, weak, pointless, perhaps.

  4. 4
    Jager says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Was he naked?

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    OT.

    For any who might be interested, the guest on today’s techie radio show done by friends here (for close to 20 years now!) is an astronomer from Institute for Astronomy. If you have a way to stream radio, it’s on KAOI 1110 AM, or you can listen from their own stream here.

    Show is on live right now; they usually get into the topic itself (today, all things space) during the last half hour of each of the two hours the program runs. First half hour of eachg hour is generally given over to a round-up of tech/computer news stories.

  6. 6
    Elizabelle says:

    @Jager: Undetermined. He is wearing a bit more gauze than he started the day with, though.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Elizabelle:

    You’re right — the photos are carefully cropped so as not to reveal what he’s wearing/not wearing.

  9. 9
    Calouste says:

    Repost from the bottom of the last thread, but completely appropriate to the first part of this post’s title:

    In Brexit news, Works and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has resigned from the cabinet and from the Conservative Party, calling Boris Johnson’s sacking of 21 Tory MPs earlier this week “an assault on decency and democracy”.

  10. 10
    MattF says:

    An ugly situation. It’s all well and good to cite policies and procedures, but it seems that Epstein was set on corrupting (or ‘grooming’) a vulnerable subset of MIT’s administrators. Unfortunately for those who have gotten caught, the way to fix this is to perform sufficiently bloody retribution on anyone who has gone astray.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    Great post, Tom. (Typo alert: “Epstein” in the 2nd to the last graf.)

  12. 12
    FlyingToaster says:

    I’ve been following this on (local) twitter; from some of the stuff cited in relation to @anandwrites’ posts, it sounds like a number of heads are about to roll.

    And I’m getting the feeling that a number of emerita (and I’m looking at you, Nicholas Negroponte) are going to be told to limit their on-campus time, while this is getting cleaned up. Since I know several of his former students, I’m just waiting to hear their reactions (which I expect are: “Look, he’s old and wrong. It happens. The MediaLab’s still great.”)

    Since right now, my brand-new middle school daughter REALLY wants to go to MIT, I want the big shining flashlight and a clean sweep. Or HerrDoktor (Harvard) is likely to start pushing her toward the Ivies…

  13. 13
    Calouste says:

    So Epstein gave money anonymously to the MIT media lab. These folks never give money without getting something in return, even if just a minor improvement in reputation, so a question to be asked is what influence Ito as a board member of the NYT had over their reporting of Epstein. Of course, it was rather convenient for Epstein that one of his mates became president and the NYT had a certain slant in its reporting against the opponent.

  14. 14
    Elizabelle says:

    It’s easy (as well as obviously right) to condemn Einstein and those he suborned.

    Whoops.

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Elizabelle: It’s the violin playing that always made him suspect in my eyes.

  16. 16

    Went out canvassing to get unregistered voters registered. It was a largely useless endeavor.

  17. 17
    FlyingToaster says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Everyone who was home was registered, or ineligible?

  18. 18

    @Brachiator:

    My personal choice, for what it’s worth, is that I will not watch his films until after he has died. Silly, weak, pointless, perhaps.

    Not entirely pointless. He does get residuals from his work, so refusing to watch it while he’s still alive is denying him money. Also, if his works lose popularity, people are less likely to support him making more, which could give opportunities to film makers who aren’t convicted rapists.

  19. 19
    Brachiator says:

    The willing, eager association with a convicted sexual predator and the willingness of senior and very high profile MIT figures to trade reputation-gilding for cash says something loud and clear to those newest young women at MIT, and to everyone else here as well. That’s the message that has to be unwritten — more, it needs to be condemned by word and action.

    Wonderful insight. The college admissions scandal, for example, perhaps demonstrates how the wealthy want to buy prestige. And institutions are often willing to go along. Since we don’t have a formal aristocracy in America, many who are simply rich look for ways to get designated as “elite.” Colleges cannot simply produce good scholars and scientists. They must become “prestigious.”

    Fame makes a man take things over
    Fame lets him loose, hard to swallow
    Fame puts you there where things are hollow (fame)
    Fame, it’s not your brain, it’s just the flame
    That burns your change to keep you insane (fame)

    — David Bowie

  20. 20

    @FlyingToaster: Students had graduated and moved on. Some misanthropes didn’t want to register. Handed out may be 3 voter registration cards out of a total of 30 plus doors.

  21. 21
    Elizabelle says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Among other qualities.

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Elizabelle: No, just the violin playing. I played it for years; I know what those bastards are like. Anyone one of them wouldn’t hesitate to cut someone just for a chance to move up a chair.

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    @Brachiator:

    Agreed about Polanski. And this from someone who considers “Chinatown” to be one the greatest films of the late 20th century. Haven’t seen it in years for this very reason.

  24. 24
    The Dangerman says:

    Damn, if I was the NFL Commissioner, I’d be investigating tampering.

    Tom or Bill: “Hey, Antonio, be a total dick in Oakland and get cut; we’ll pick you up.”

    Antonio: “Excellent idea”

    Didn’t this happen previously with another high profile player?

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @geg6: Fess up, you stabbed Cole, didn’t you? No one hear will blame you. I am sure it needed to be done.

  26. 26
    bbleh says:

    those .01 percenters are loyal to the Republic of Wealth, and not the United States, or MIT or whatever.

    Sure, and unfortunately it’s hardly only the .01% who are loyal to the Republic of Wealth — or if you prefer, the cult of Mammon.

    If you could map the motivations of every faculty member and student associated with MIT — or any other elite institution — what fraction of the total would be, in one form or another, “making lots of money”? And I don’t mean “doing (reasonably) well by doing good,” I mean, making lots of money for its own sake.

    The worship of wealth, and perhaps more importantly, the assumption that wealth confers or confirms virtue, is both figuratively and literally poisoning our culture. The influence of people like Epstein, and the willingness of more virtuous but still flawed people like Ito to circumvent well-understood and correctly intentioned safeguards against such influence, are IMO symptoms of a deeper malaise.

    Crass materialism and sociopathic greed have simply elbowed out ethics — or “honor,” as quaint as that sounds today — as motivations in Anglo-American societies. The current president is merely one symptom of this. And again IMO, elite institutions — and I have graduated from several, both undergraduate and graduate, in technical and business fields — are not doing enough to combat this.

  27. 27
    geg6 says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I can vouch that he wasn’t naked. I got there for a visit with my John, Lovey and Koda. It had just happened, I believe, as we pulled in and parked. Poor Cole. He can’t win. But he did give us lovely pickles and two types of sauerkraut, despite the giant gash in his hand.

  28. 28
    Another Scott says:

    Thanks for this Tom. I’m sorry that you’re having to go through this.

    The super-rich playing philanthropist has bothered me for a long time. The Gates Foundation gets lots of wonderful press, but they spend the absolute minimum necessary (5%) of their endowment every year – the minimum to keep their non-profit status. They have no special expertise on education or infectious disease or anything else as a result of having a mountain of money – they simply were endowed by someone who found a way to tax everyone who bought an IBM-compatible PC and crush his competition until he had a near monopoly. They should not get more seats at the table than experts and people who have a life-or-death stake in the outcome.

    I hope that Epstein’s crimes, and the way his money corrupted too many, serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of higher taxes on the wealthy and the importance of the law treating everyone equally (rather than giving he wealthy an easy out as happens in far too many cases). It’s important.

    Thanks again.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  29. 29
    Marcus says:

    I’ve been following @xeni on Twitter over this. She is relentless, and this post adds to my cynicism of how deep the money went to these institutions and those who funneled it.

    The best that money can buy…

  30. 30

    @Brachiator: John Lennon also has writing credit on that song.

  31. 31
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Elizabelle: Yeah, you know, Einstein. He’s getting noticed more & more lately.

  32. 32
    Jay says:

    Amid protests, the for-profit child migrant detention facility, Homestead, spox produced a PR film script with the help of a Saudi govt-tied PR group.“Homestead…is a former military base but we shoot it to capture as much beauty as possible”For @TYT: https://t.co/0kNbRGLL2x pic.twitter.com/enOSSVDLOm— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) September 7, 2019

  33. 33
    Brachiator says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    John Lennon also has writing credit on that song.

    Yep. And also Carlos Alomar, who plays lead and rhythm guitar.

  34. 34
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: As the parent of a violinist, I recommend training kids for chamber music and fiddling (which is what the local Suzuki program does); no “orchestra” competition whackiness.

    Though I dread High School. 3 more years (sigh).

  35. 35
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Apartment dwellers – any of you had someone unexpectedly knock on your door from an unknown company asking to see your electric bill about rebates you’ve never heard of?

  36. 36
    Capri says:

    @The Dangerman: Ryan Leaf, when he was coming out of college, really didn’t want to get drafted by Indianapolis. He was a complete tool to everyone in the Colts organization, and stood them up when they tried to interview him. So the Colts went with their second choice – Peyton Manning. Worked out OK for them.

  37. 37
    Brachiator says:

    @bbleh:

    The worship of wealth, and perhaps more importantly, the assumption that wealth confers or confirms virtue, is both figuratively and literally poisoning our culture.

    Unfortunately, this has been a constant in human society, the formation of self-regarding aristocracies.

    Crass materialism and sociopathic greed have simply elbowed out ethics — or “honor,” as quaint as that sounds today — as motivations in Anglo-American societies.

    I’m not sure that things are worse today. Like you, I attended some prestigious schools, and I soon noticed that the people with sticks up their butts about “honor” were often snobs, racists, and children of alumni upholding a tradition of exclusion.

    Noblesse oblige in the past was often little more than a thin mask behind exploitation.

  38. 38
    Redshift says:

    But the same dynamic protects bad ideas, distortion of work, the exercise of unmerited power in all kinds of domains

    Ms. Redshift is now at George Mason University, so I have become even more familiar with the “protecting bad ideas” part. (GMU has had repeated revelations of secret agreements that the Koch brothers get “input” on faculty and teaching in return for their donations.) At the reception for new students in her department, they told them explicitly that theirs isn’t funded by the Kochs.

  39. 39
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @schrodingers_cat: waste of time to do that while everyone was watching the Georgia-Murray State game!

  40. 40
    Raven says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Pickens is going to be a force.

  41. 41
    Brachiator says:

    @mrmoshpotato:

    Apartment dwellers – any of you had someone unexpectedly knock on your door from an unknown company asking to see your electric bill about rebates you’ve never heard of?

    Fortunately, no. I guess scam season is getting serious.

    I would not show any stranger anything with my name, address and info about any bill (especially an account number) on it.

    They certainly would not need to see anything to talk about rebates.

  42. 42

    @mrmoshpotato: Sounds like bullshit to me. I’ve had guys come around with all kinds of stories- usually they just want to get a look inside your place. They might also get some useful info off your bill. Tell ’em no thanks.

  43. 43
    TS (the original) says:

    @mrmoshpotato: From the other side of the world – it’s usually a different supplier – going to look at your bill & tell you how much money you can save by going with his/her company. Happens in houses as well as apartments. Ring your supplier & they’ll match any offer.

    Edit: I agree with the others – didn’t show them my bill but rang my supplier & got a big discount

  44. 44
    FlyingToaster says:

    @mrmoshpotato: If it’s September in Massachusetts, yes.

    These are energy scammers. Let your supplier know, and the business line at the police.

    It’s ubiquitous around here at this time of year.

  45. 45
    debbie says:

    @mrmoshpotato:

    A couple of phone calls, but no visits. I’d just slam the door in their face anyway.

  46. 46
    Procopius says:

    Epstein was protected and rewarded by his ability to associate with high profile people and organizations — a protection purchased with cold cash, not any contribution of ideas or intellect.

    I’m not so sure this is accurate, although it may be. Epstein has been characterized by people who knew him as a fun guy to be around. Smart, knowledgeable, well-read, charming. He is reported to have been genuinely interested in all the sciences, and well informed about current developments in all of them, so he would have known the right questions to ask to arouse an enthusiastic response. In fact, he doesn’t seem to have had a lot of money, even in terms of the 0.1%, much less the 0.01% and above. We don’t have any idea (yet) of where the money he did have came from. I suspect we aren’t going to find out, either.

  47. 47
    B.B.A. says:

    Speaking as a Media Lab alum, I think the entire place should be burnt to the ground. Hell, I’d do it myself if Cambridge weren’t such a schlep from where I live now, that and the whole arson being a felony thing.

  48. 48
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Elizabelle: Oops indeed. Fix’t

  49. 49
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Brachiator: Yeah. Happens twice a year with the changing weather. The best was fall last year when a random guy wanted to make sure I wasn’t paying too much for heat. Hard to do that with heat included in rent on a radiator system.

    @John Revolta: Been thinking about mocking up a bill with no personal info on it just to waste time. “Here you go.” *hands them bill with everything removed but electric rates.

    @debbie: Haha

  50. 50
    bbleh says:

    @Brachiator: Agreed, greed is hardly a new vice, nor the only one, and there’s lots of ways social exclusivity and control are perpetuated.

    But it seems to me that a lot of “elite institutions” are perfectly happy to go along with, to benefit from, and even to perpetuate, the notion that wealth is the ultimate measure, and that the pursuit of wealth is not just an appropriate motivation but even the most important one. They encourage students to pursue the course of study that will maximize their earning potential, or to emphasize business or career advancement in forming personal connections. They teach economics and business courses that present maximizing owner wealth as the paramount goal, and they treat “business ethics” as a joke, if they consider it at all. They select and promote faculty for their ability to raise funds, sometimes even if their scholarship is mediocre.

    And yes, they’re better than many. And they’re very much part of contemporary society, so they can’t not reflect it. But I think they’ve not only become willing participants in the cult of Mammon, I think in many ways they’ve become part of the priesthood. And given that, like it or not, a great many of the leaders of society pass through those institutions and have their thinking shaped by them, they need to do better.

  51. 51
    Immanentize says:

    a sprint through the first week of the semester and a simultaneous dash through the second submission draft of a book manuscript (completed just this afternoon), and for the other a desire to pursue my concerns with MIT faculty officers and the administration before saying anything in public.
    I haven’t done that yet

    Of course you haven’t. Now, luckily it seems for you, you probably think you no longer need to.

  52. 52
    Immanentize says:

    At LGM:

    I mean, yes, serial child rape sounds bad, but the Director of Development and Strategy could really use a second secretary and perhaps an Associate Director for Leveraging Synergistic Liaisons, and I could go on like this for a while, so you can see the dilemma they had.

    All money is green, amirite?

  53. 53
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Brachiator:

    My personal choice, for what it’s worth, is that I will not watch his films until after he has died.

    Amen and pass the ammunition. Same here. Ditto with Woody Allen.

  54. 54
    RSA says:

    In the wake of that story Ito has now resigned as director and professor of the practice at MIT. He has also quit the boards of the MacArthur Foundation and The New York Times, with, I’m sure, more to drop.

    A few days ago there was an online petition for Ito to remain as director of the Media Lab. At the time, even given what was known before Farrow’s article, I was disappointed to see a few well-known MIT colleagues in my area (though no one I knew personally) having signed. The site has been taken down since.

  55. 55
    B.B.A. says:

    @RSA: I lost all respect for Lessig. Good fucking god.

    As far as I can tell, none of what I did at E15 was funded by Epstein. But I was taking money from a far more evil source – the Bush Administration. So no matter what happens when the books are finally opened, I have plenty to atone for.

  56. 56
    laura says:

    @mrmoshpotato: yes. Turn them away and dont show them your bill.

  57. 57
    Elizabelle says:

    The FTF NYTimes has bravely not opened reader comments on its article about Joishi Ito exiting its very own board, along with his MIT responsibilities and the MacArthur Foundation. Kind of noticeable because the other big stories do have reader comments.

    Brave, brave NYTimes. Maybe they’ll open it later. They will get an earful.

  58. 58
    Kenneth Adler says:

    Ronan has a new article out? I was curious why Woody Allen was dragged back into the news again. Now I know.

  59. 59
    J R in WV says:

    @debbie:

    A couple of phone calls, but no visits. I’d just slam the door in their face anyway.

    I got a wonderful Spam email the other day,

    Told me my password was Distantcousinsname#456 – which it was 12 years ago. Threatened to publish video “of you pleasuring yourself” taken from the laptop cam. First, all out laptops have black electricians tape over the cameras! Next, I’m pushing 70, like that would offend me. If there was a valid return email address, I would tell them so.

    But I just deleted the email along with the rest of the spam…

  60. 60
    J R in WV says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    There is nothing that can make me want to see a Woody Allen movie. Nothing!!!

  61. 61
    Tehanu says:

    @bbleh:

    The worship of wealth, and perhaps more importantly, the assumption that wealth confers or confirms virtue, is both figuratively and literally poisoning our culture.

    @bbleh:

    But it seems to me that a lot of “elite institutions” are perfectly happy to go along with, to benefit from, and even to perpetuate, the notion that wealth is the ultimate measure, and that the pursuit of wealth is not just an appropriate motivation but even the most important one. … They teach economics and business courses that present maximizing owner wealth as the paramount goal, and they treat “business ethics” as a joke, if they consider it at all.

    This goes along with two things I say over and over: first, whether or not you believe that Jesus was God, he was right about the love of money; second, at least 75% of what’s wrong with this country comes out of the business schools, which as far as I can figure out have no purpose except to turn young people into soulless greedheads.

  62. 62
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Immanentize: I don’t need to on the question of Ito’s continued employment. But I might on some of the other questions outlined above.

    We’ll see…

  63. 63
    Jon Marcus says:

    @Calouste: I wondered that too. If Epstein donated anonymously, what did he get? Reputation-washing? Maybe among the few who knew of his donation. Would that have been worth it? Was he able to leverage something else?

  64. 64
    susanna says:

    TomL, may you write more on this and its attendant subjects, academic ethics, such as dependence or acceptance of corporate money for funding projects, as well as educational figures serving on corporate boards, etc.
    This is interesting, discouraging and necessary for the public to be informed. That said, any regulation is not going to happen soon, if ever, as it’s far, far down that road.

  65. 65
    Another Scott says:

    @Another Scott: Oh, and speaking of Bill Gates… Twitter:

    Jeet Heer Verified account @HeerJeet

    Jeet Heer Retweeted Felix Salmon

    Good thread on something that’s been bugging me: why exactly did Bill Gates join in Jeffrey Epstein’s covert funding of MIT scheme? If there was a hidden debt of some kind, what was that debt for?

    Jeet Heer added, Felix Salmon Verified account @felixsalmon

    One thing that’s clearly necessary now is explicit statements from Bill Gates and Leon Black about their donations to the MIT Media Lab. Most urgently: Was this their own money, or were they simply acting as conduits for Epstein’s money? https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-an-elite-university-research-center-concealed-its-relationship-with-jeffrey-epstein

    Show this thread

    9:39 AM – 8 Sep 2019

    This is my shocked, shocked face.

    (via Cheryl’s Twitter feed)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  66. 66
    Blue Galangal says:

    I think there are many questions MIT and the NYT should be answering. For MIT, how did a man without a college degree get put in charge of such a high-profile lab? Why were there emails to people in the foundation about hiding the Epstein money? For the NYT, who put the kibosh on the whistleblowers and others who came to the NYT with this story? How did Joi’s relationship with the NYT board work, exactly? Did he have influence on what sorts of stories the NYT published? It certainly seems so.

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