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Report: MIT's Media Lab had much deeper ties with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein than it let on

UPDATE: Media Lab Director Joi Ito has resigned

The New Yorker reports the Media Lab relied heavily on disgraced and now dead molester Jeffrey Epstein that went far beyond the $800,000 in donations MIT acknowledges it received from him.

Perhaps most notably, Epstein appeared to serve as an intermediary between the lab and other wealthy donors, soliciting millions of dollars in donations from individuals and organizations, including the technologist and philanthropist Bill Gates and the investor Leon Black.

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Does anyone know if this the part of MIT that developed the disastrous school start plan?

My argument , for any non-profit that needs donations to survive and do good work, is that it doesn’t matter where the money comes from. All nonprofits need donations, and if all donors’ complete lives were scrutinized, in this day of political correctness, perhaps very little of that money could be considered “clean”.
So where is the line that you can’t cross on the continuum of morality? How about this: there is no continuum at all. PC is fine for an individuals’s feelings, but when a non-profit needs money, there is no PC at all. The money is all that matters. The existence of a check to your organization precludes any feelings involved. What if it came from “anonymous” instead of a different name? Isn’t that the same? Isn’t money in and of itself a tool, completely stripped of morality, until the time of its wielding by a person?

it's pretty ridiculous to claim that money is simply a tool devoid of any other meaning.

but second, and more to your point, no one ever gives money - especially in these quantities - to any foundation, organization, school, nonprofit, shelter, etc.. without expecting something in return. Whether that's research and programming that directly supports their interests, or currying favor with people in otherwise "unimpeachable" positions of elite academic and social power, or simply being able to claim the title of "renowned philanthropist".

It all comes at a price. No money is free. No money has zero moral impact.

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but second, and more to your point, no one ever gives money - especially in these quantities - to any foundation, organization, school, nonprofit, shelter, etc.. without expecting something in return.

Sorry, but you are so wrong on this. Yes, the very cool thing to believe is that all rich people are scumbags only looking out for themselves, but it's just an ignorant belief.

that's not what I said.

I simply said money is given with expectations on how it will be used and what the donor (individual or foundation) will get from it. Sometimes it's a concrete project, sometimes it's the soft influence that comes from being a "philanthropist" with connections to elite institutions.

I work in the nonprofit sector, I know how it works. Grants aren't just handed out with no reporting requirements, money isn't just given in an unmarked bag with no follow up on how it's spent.

People don't necessarily have to be "scumbags" (your term, not mine, remember) for it to work like this. It's just how it is. I would argue that the real "ignorant belief" is to pretend that no strings attached philanthropy is at all common.

What if it came from “anonymous” instead of a different name? Isn’t that the same? Isn’t money in and of itself a tool, completely stripped of morality, until the time of its wielding by a person?

No.

We're talking about a child rapist. These people should be shunned, as should all who have dealings with them. If you're so blinkered that you actually see this rather low bar of civilized standards as "PC", I shudder to think what you'd consider "oh that's probably not good kinda".

yikes, i actually like media lab (one laptop per child, harmonix - rock band, guitar hero, gyroscopic mouses (wii-mote), ...).

Of the Media Lab. When I was working at MIT the Media Lab didn't really collaborate with anyone else at the Institute. MIT's hallmark was its cross disciplinary projects between departments. The Media Lab didn't participate to any significant extent. While you can point to things it has done, I'd argue its overall impact per dollar is rather modest. Its main product was hype and ego massages for funders and the lab leadership.

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While many media lab alumni have done successful things, the media lab itself is pretty "meh", especially the upper floors.

Few if any of the actual researchers and staff knew of Epstein's past or even where the money came from. They were focused on their work. Epstein didn't make his money from rape, at least not the sexual kind.

Sad but true, most of the ultra rich have slimy backgrounds. They should have rejected his cash, but there aren't many donors who are saints.

Epstein didn't make his money from rape, at least not the sexual kind.

Uhh, you sure about that? His background is super sketchy and nobody has been able to figure out exactly where his money came from.

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Without actually being a teacher?

Our current A.G., Barr's father hired him.

He ran in circles of elite people who were very aware of his crimes.

Christ, people from the media lab asked if his "assistants" were safe.

It was an open secret.

There's a reason he got away with so much for so long. And it's the same reason he ended up dead on Barr's watch.

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When science and technology, medical research, schools, etc are underfunded, they have to rely on the whimsy of the billionaires. Tough to hold them to blame for the private sins of the check signer but I get it. They weren’t procuring the young women for him but the money is def tainted. But the race to the moon was made possible by govt funding - now we hope Elon Musk will write a check. Insulin was discovered with govt funding. The internet. We helped Europe get back on its feet after WWII. We’re now hoping more celebrities, reality stars, and corporations help the Bahamas. Maybe if we taxed these guys better we wouldn’t have to hope (and compromise ourselves) for their charity. Same with Churches. Mr tax free Joel Osteen had to be publicly shamed to make his mega church available as a shelter during the last devastating hurricane.

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It's a *raging* dumpster fire, fascinating to watch but at the same time sad, hard to see how this cool and distinguished org holds it together. At an absolute minimum Ito has to go.

I unfortunately met the founder of the Media Lab once years ago, an incredibly combative, obnoxious, in-your-face pushy asshole named Negroponte... is he somehow involved in this?

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