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.
One voice a part of the effort to lift the lid is Signe Swenson, a former a former development associate and alumni coordinator at the lab. She explains the how the message to keep Epstein’s donations secret came from the top. Another employee to speak up is Ethan Zuckerman, who recently resigned in protest:
In 2013, Zuckerman said, he pulled Ito aside after a faculty meeting to express concern about meetings on Ito’s calendar marked “J.E.” Zuckerman recalled saying, “I heard you’re meeting with Epstein. I don’t think that’s a good idea,” and Ito responding, “You know, he’s really fascinating. Would you like to meet him?” Zuckerman declined and said that he believed the relationship could have negative consequences for the lab.
Farrow highlights how Epstein’s association with élite institutions like MIT helped shield him.
The revelations about Epstein’s widespread sexual misconduct, most notably reported by Julie K. Brown in the Miami Herald, have made clear that Epstein used the status and prestige afforded him by his relationships with élite institutions to shield himself from accountability and continue his alleged predation.
In a Twitter thread, Siva Vaidhyanathan argues that Epstein’s intent in donating to MIT was not whitewashing, but rather to gain access to powerful men. This all highlights the moral rot and bankruptcy of the techno-elites.
Audrey Watters calls it a ‘plutocratic horror show’.
This is why I try in my work to show the powerful networks funding education technology and “the future of learning.” It’s a plutocratic horror show. And if you think your work isn’t tainted when you take billionaires’ cash, you are wrong. Thread —> https://t.co/nVlgoox6IZ
— Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) September 7, 2019
Rafranz Davis asks when we stop promoting MIT’s products?
I’m also wondering at which point in time do we stop looking away. Those ignoring the Epstein/MIT Media Lab story while still promoting their products are full of shit.
— Rafranz (@RafranzDavis) September 7, 2019
Jay Rosen also asks why the New York Times did not publish the information?
We know a whistleblower gave documents to the Times. We know Ronan Farrow also had those documents and the whistleblower’s story. We know the Times didn’t publish a story until after the New Yorker did. We know Ito was on the board of the Times. We know there’s no public editor. https://t.co/PRlCwQkj3z
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) September 7, 2019