MIT Media Lab Director Abruptly Resigns Amid Jeffrey Epstein Donations Scandal

Photo by Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos for WIRED
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In yet another shocking development in the lurid tale of the life of financier Jeffrey Epstein who allegedly committed suicide in his New York City jail cell on August 10th, it has now been reported that the director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) resigned on Saturday after evidence emerged that he had been secretly accepting donations from Jeffrey Epstein.

Edited by: JV Staff

According to a report in the New York Post, acclaimed reporter for the New Yorker Magazine, Ronan Farrow discovered documents that had never been made public showing that the MIT Media Lab concealed its relationship with Epstein and covertly accepted $1.7 million in donations from Epstein.

“After giving the matter a great deal of thought over the past several days and weeks, I think that it is best that I resign as director of the media lab and as a professor and employee of the Institute, effective immediately,” wrote Director Joichi Ito in an email to the provost of MIT, Martin A. Schmidt.

The Post reported that the university in Boston sent out a letter to “the MIT community” announcing the move.

“Last night, The New Yorker published an article that contains deeply disturbing allegations about the engagement between individuals at the Media Lab and Jeffrey Epstein,” said MIT President Rafael Reif. “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, and to report back to me and to the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation, MIT’s governing board.”

According to the Post, the Media Lab at MIY had knowledge that Epstein was a convicted sex offender but decided to accept his rather large donations to the school. The report also indicated that MIT asked Epstein to seek donations from other wealthy individuals including Bill Gates and investor Leon Black. This information was originally revealed by Farrow for his bombshell article on the subject that recently appeared in The New Yorker.  

“The effort to conceal the lab’s contact with Epstein was so widely known that some staff in the office of the lab’s director, Joi Ito, called Epstein ‘Voldemort,’ or ‘he who must not be named,’” Farrow wrote.

The Post reported that the documents dug up by Farrow show that while Epstein was listed as “disqualified” in M.I.T’s official donor database, the Media Lab continued to pocket his cash in secret — by marking his contributions as “anonymous.”

 A lot of wealthy and powerful people are afraid their names will be revealed to have been in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book, according to multiple published reports.

At least one unidentified individual is said to have begged a judge not to release his name and those of others, afraid that his and their reputations might be harmed.

          “The anonymous motion seeking to keep the records sealed underscored the sordid nature of the allegations against Mr. Epstein and the fear of people in his social circles that their standing could be harmed by any links to him,” reported the New York Times.

          “There are hundreds of other people implicated in dockets,” noted Jeffrey S. Pagliuca, an attorney involved in the litigation, during a hearing about releasing the records. “There are a lot of people, your honor.”

          According to the Times, Pagliuca “said the people are named in 29 depositions, voluminous investigatory records and an “address book” that includes over 1,000 names. It remained unclear if the address book was the same one published in 2015 by Gawker with the numbers redacted. That book listed hundreds of politicians, celebrities and dignitaries in Mr. Epstein’s social circle.”

          The name mentioned most these days is that of Prince Andrew, who reported shut off commenting on his official Instagram account. “It appears the Duke of York — who is among several prominent men accused of sleeping with Epstein’s underage victims — deactivated the feature on his @hrhthedukeofyork account sometime last month,” noted the New York Post.

          “Andrew, the 59-year-old son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, was infamously photographed with Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre in 2001 — though sources close to the royal has claimed the photo is doctored because his fingers are “much chubbier” in real life,” the Post added.

          Not since the McCarthy era has such fear stalked those whose names may be found in a book. Some connected to Epstein “have been subject to speculative scrutiny, which has exploded since his death,” wrote Vanity Fair. “Who knew what when? Who did what? Who has information and who shares blame? It stands to reason that any of the other high-powered former friends of the embattled pedophile possibly named in the suit would be worried. Some names found in his little black book, published by Gawker in 2015, include Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Prince Andrew.”

          Attorneys representing alleged Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre “have requested an interview with Prince Andrew about his connections to Jeffrey Epstein after a British newspaper quoted “a source close to the Queen’s second son,” claiming the infamous 2001 photograph of him, Giuffre and Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell is a fake,” according to Forbes. “The source told the London Evening Standard to “look at his fingers in the photo. The [prince] has quite chubby fingers, they don’t look right and nor does the height of the [prince] and the girl.”

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