Epstein’s Connection to Big Tech & Big Academia

Epstein’s Connection to Big Tech & Big Academia September 9, 2019

The late child-molester Jeffrey Epstein had many connections with big business and big politics.  It turns out that he also had connections with big tech and big academia.

The New Yorker‘s Ronan Farrow, who broke the #MeToo story, has published an article on how a research center at M.I.T. known as the Media Lab continued to solicit and receive donations from Epstein even after he was convicted of sexual abuse.  The research center then covered up the donations.

Not only that, Epstein used other willing participants to funnel donations to the Media Lab, including Bill Gates.  Farrow’s article also names Elon Musk, Linked-in’s Reid Hoffman, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as being tied to Epstein’s philanthropic  activities.

Farrow also documents Epstein’s ties not only to MIT but to Harvard University, including to its president and prominent faculty members.

Read the “blockbuster” article.

Felix Salmon gives a summary of Farrow’s investigation so far, but we can expect more to come.

In the aftermath of a blockbuster report from The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow — which details that MIT Media Lab’s director Joi Ito flew to Epstein’s private island twice and accepted more than $8 million of donations from him — Ito resigned on Saturday from MIT Media Lab, left his board seat with the New York Times Company, and resigned from the MacArthur Foundation.

  • Leon Black remains the chairman and CEO of private equity giant Apollo; he’s also the chairman of the board of the Museum of Modern Art. Black donated $5.5 million to the Media Lab at Epstein’s behest, on top of a $10 million donation that he made directly to Epstein’s own foundation in 2015.
  • Bill Gates donated $2 million to the Media Lab in October 2014; Ito claimed at the time that the gift was “directed by Jeffrey Epstein”. Gates asked that his name be kept out of any public discussion of the donation.
  • Reid Hoffman, the venture capitalist and founder of LinkedIn, hosted dinners for Epstein featuring the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. He also sits on the jury of the Media Lab’s Disobedience Award. (Epstein received an orb, which looks exactly like the Disobedience Award, for his service to the Lab.) When author and fellow juror Anand Giridharadas raised questions about the award’s ties to Epstein, Hoffman was the man who slapped him down.
  • Outside the Media Lab there are many other names. The UK’s Prince Andrew was close to Epstein both before and after Epstein’s conviction, as was lawyer Alan Dershowitz. There are multiple connections between Epstein and Harvard, including a “special connection” with Lawrence Summers. Naturally there are ties to Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, too.

As a veteran of academic administration, I know the pressure of fund-raising.  Accepting money would not necessarily implicate an institution in the bad behavior of a donor.  But, to their credit, M.I.T. and Harvard, which have huge endowments and are not nearly as needy as some worthy institutions I could name, blacklisted Epstein as a donor, so the Media Lab people were violating school policy.

The fact that the heads of the research institute took such pains to cover up Epstein’s donations–to the point of calling him Voldemort, “he who must not be named”–shows that they knew associating with him and taking his money was wrong.

What emerges in all of this is the extensive web of Epstein’s cronies who had no problem with associating with their wealthy friend and money-source even after they knew about how he had been preying on and sexually abusing underage adolescents.

This is evidence of the moral bankruptcy among our intellectual and cultural elites–our scientists, our technological geniuses, and our prestigious educational institutions, our corporation heads, our political leaders, and our entertainment celebrities.  Not all of them, of course, and we must beware of ascribing guilt by association, but it’s disturbing to see just how popular Epstein was–even after his first conviction–in these rarified social circles that in many ways constitute America’s ruling class.


Photo:  Jeffrey Epstein mugshot 2013, State of Florida [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

""Convenience" is such a convenient word, isn't it."

Abortion Supply and Demand
"I'd like to see the recent statistics, but several years ago when I was looking ..."

Abortion Supply and Demand
"According to Wikipedia, the story follows the structure of Dante's Purgatorio, and quotes Tolkien, "... ..."

Tolkien on Vocation
"Yes, that's how I tried to apply it as well."

Tolkien on Vocation

Browse Our Archives