MIT says Jeffrey Epstein gave $800,000, issues statement on MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito, Seth Lloyd

I honestly don’t care. I’ve gotten the message that women are not valued in the face of vast sums of money.

Give it (or the equivalent) to a good cause. Otherwise, they don’t care about teen girls being raped. I’m sure my anti-rape platform is controversial, but that’s the hill I’ll die on, I guess.


We are just pointing out that the “Over the course of 20 years” wording smells like a PR whitewash by MIT.


I don’t. The entire letter feels like “We got caught, we need to issue a waffling statement that makes us seem either complicit or ignorant, but still allows us to keep the money while appearing to stand on the moral high ground.”

Now if they’d announced they were about to donate all the $800,000 to a charity out of their own pockets, say, the American Red Cross or something similar, they’d look a lot more sincere.

Yes, I know. I’m not defending MIT or any other university that takes dirty money, just pointing out that practically every university takes a ton of dirty money.

For example, right down the road is MIT’s Lincoln Labs, which has been feeding itself for almost 70 years on the blood of innocent children.

The statement from MIT’s President ends with:


Well, it’s the difference between, “Thanks for the money, rich dude!” and “Thanks for the money, child-rapist!” They’ve stated they’re giving the money he donated “to an appropriate charity that benefits his victims or other victims of sexual abuse” but that’s really not good enough if they knew who he was when they took the money. Which, as @Keith_McClary suggests, they probably did, for at least some of it.

Every part of the Epstein story has sent that message. Along with every other abuse incident involving a rich person… (And, hell, looking at sexual abuse cases in the whole, one can leave off “in the face of vast sums of money.” Now excuse me while I go off somewhere to be very angry.)

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I’d say that someone knew well before 2008, especially the people he was wining and dining on his private island. And it seems like people just shrugged his shoulders AFTER he got out. Because it was just the ruined lives of some teen girls, but look what cool things they can do with all that money!

I just don’t understand how we can as a society continue to denigrate and abuse young women. The lack of humanity is appalling.

Yes, he’s already noted that I’m the condescending asshole here.


This on the same day that BBC had a story about the Univ of Glasgow starting to make ammends for benefiting from slavery money. Seems like our ivory towers could start repurposing some of that Epstein cash right now.


not as well respected as you might think.


I’ve been hyping Marvin Minsky’s Society of Mind, The Emotion Machine and his MIT Open Courseware over the years. Aaaand now he’s now posthumously guilty as charged.

Please do not attack other members for voicing their opinion here (you are of course welcome to attack the opinion). Flags posts that do, do not engage.

Thank you.


Philanthropy is a time-honored way for bad people to try to clean or enhance their reputations. Universities have been a major recipient for that tainted money, especially in recent years as state support has dwindled. On top of that, many universities, notably MIT, also take substantial government money to research new ways to control, maim, and kill people.

Epstein’s various crimes, starting with his child prostitution business, are pretty heinous, but it is blinkered to have the discussion about this one case without the broader context.

The modern American university system, my industry, is built on taking money without thinking too hard about the source. Everyone on a modern R1 campus, every faculty member and every student in every program, benefit at least in part from such funding. We need to have a conversation about whether that should continue, and if not how to survive without that funding…because as currently constituted we cannot.

Or perhaps this opens up the conversation about how just very bad this sort of light money laundering actually is.

Regardless, I think the specifics of this case are important to remember, doubly so since his web reaches into some very high offices.

No, I don’t think that’s the case. Adjuncts are not benefiting from such. Many students do not really benefit from it. And is the exploitation in this particular case worth it? Maybe you think the positives outweigh the negatives, but I don’t think I do.


I used to believe this too, until I got involved in campus budgeting 10 years ago. Almost every dollar spent on an R1 campus, from startup for humanities faculty to space allocation to projection equipment, has a slice of foundation money or research overhead comingled with it. That’s partly why the negotiated overhead rates are as high as they are.

The connection to adjuncts is more indirect, in the form of funding for the creation of oversupply of skilled labor and subsidy of non-adjunct teaching effort, but adjuncts as a grossly exploited class mainly represent yet another facet of problematic university ethics.

Maybe you think the positives outweigh the negatives

Good god no, I don’t know where you get that idea. I recognize the fact that modern academics is existentially tied to tainted money, but for me that isn’t a justification for taking that money.

Extreme cases like this one are a critical opportunity for having the broader discussion, since if we treat it as a one-off we’re falling into the same trap we always do with things like shootings and racist attacks, of treating a structural problem as only an individual one.

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Yeah, clearly a lot of people knew long before 2008 (at the very least because Epstein was procuring children for them to abuse as well). I’m not sure if any of the science types he was wooing were in that category, but it’s becoming clear to me that even if people didn’t know he was a child-rapist, anyone who socialized with him, even in this limited context, would quickly find out he was a creepy asshole:

Epstein was a dilettante, and easily distracted. But he pulled so many prominent thinkers into his social circle, using the promise of his money to create “some kind of a mini university of thought,” that in Pivar’s view he did “amazing, incredible, amazing, remarkable things for science.” There were lavish dinner parties with the likes of Steven Pinker and Stephen Jay Gould during which Epstein would ask provocatively elementary questions like “What is gravity?” If the conversation drifted beyond his interests, Epstein was known to interrupt, “What does that got to do with pussy?!”

It’s clear, from the very description of the events, that nothing of worth came out of these social gatherings he set up, so I’m seriously judging anyone who socialized with him (before 2008) more than once, given what an overt creep he was. Anyone who socialized with him after 2008… I consider them complicit in abuse.

(That article is a disturbing interview with a long-time friend of Epstein’s, someone who claimed to have been ignorant about what Epstein was doing for years, but at some point was told, by one of Epstein’s victims, exactly what Epstein was doing and his response was to be horrified but just to cut off contact with him. Yet he also obviously blames the girls, so it’s not clear whether he had some inkling but just brushed it off until directly confronted with it.)

I think, on a regular basis, about how if a country had a population that was treated the way women are treated in this country, there would be a fucking revolution. I remain amazed at how successful the societal brainwashing must be in this country, that women haven’t risen up in actual armed revolt. It’s totally justified.


We’re indoctrinated into the same misogyny, too. Many women just accept it, and often embrace their subordinate position, because they feel like they get some benefit from it.

[ETA] That Pivar guy is disturbing in his own right. And JFC “Jeffery was an important person”! “Fooling around with a 16 year old trollop”!!! It’s STILL rape, you jack ass! “This got out of hand”!!! “He did stuff with underage girls who knew what they were doing”!!! Oh, god, and this scum keeps going on and on about “nymphomania”. And scientists hung out with him, because he had lots of money… “The Jeffery thing is profoundly deep”!!! Wow… just fucking… Wow. Sounds like this guy is just mad that he got caught, not that he was regularly raping “16 year old trollops”… but hey, Epstein was important, and “16 year old trollops” disposable! /s “Jeffery was a fascinating guy. He offered money to scientists”!!! That tells me all I need to know about this guy. “Do you think a guy with the intelligence of Alan Dershowitz”!!! :face_vomiting: “I’m not a poor guy”!!!

THIS attitude right there is the problem! He and his ilk can just go fuck off and jump in a volcano… Jeffery Epstein wasn’t a “very important person” he was a scum with power who used it to get away with rape for a long time. He wasn’t “sick and out of control”, he did what he wanted, and he believed that he could do that, and get away with it, because he had money.



This is why I’m no longer in academia. I’m sick of all the “important people” getting away with everything short of murder and not getting called out on it.

I found that very disturbing. Here was a man who raped hundreds of teenage girls, yet this old shit is heaping the blame on the victims.

By definition, they don’t. The age of consent exists because there are many factors, such as emotional maturity, power over others, and overall stability that come with age. People under the age of consent lack these things to a degree where a relationship with anyone more than a couple years older than them reasonably constitutes an imbalance of power. And don’t anyone dare bullshit me that a 16 year old girl, even a sixteen year old “trollop”, could exert influence over Jeffrey fucking Epstein and his seemingly limitless resources.

Not a thing, and neither is that bullshit male version he keeps yammering on about. Psychiatrists don’t recognize the legitimacy of either of these things, and haven’t for the past fifty years. As they say, “a nymphomaniac is someone who has more sex than you”

People say he’s intelligent, but he’s been on the wrong side of everything. I’m just about willing to declare him a fraud.

In other words, “it doesn’t matter if I’m right or wrong, I have more money and you and can sue you just to make your life miserable”.

I’m right there with you!


That interview was really doing my head in. The victim-blaming and the cognitive dissonance going on there - constant justifications for Epstein’s crimes, yet being “horrified” when actually confronted with Epstein’s victim (though not horrified enough to actually do anything in response, except retreat and ignore); talking about what an important genius Epstein was… while clearly, according to his own recounting, Epstein was an idiot who wasn’t doing anything important at all.

One can see how Epstein’s environment of rich assholes excused and justified what he did, and failed to enact any consequences on Epstein at all, even when it was out in the open. They didn’t have a problem with it, fundamentally. It was okay he was abusing girls as long as they weren’t their own.
This, basically (note that the headline is white-hot irony):

It’s amazing that Epstein’s apologists are using the “the girls knew what they were doing”/it was consensual justification, not just because it’s horrific on the face of it, but also when we know that Epstein was just a straight-up rapist of both girls and adult women. I’m not sure how much of a pedophile he was, or if he just figured that he could get away with raping children more readily than adults.

I guess people will cling to any old bullshit if they can use it to justify things. “Oh, Jeffrey’s just got an ‘uncontrollable sex compulsion,’ so the fact that he’s a sex offender is fine. He can’t help it - it’s like a tic!”

Fucking thirded.
People talk about getting more conservative with age, but I find myself increasingly wondering if I need to get some weapons training, in case it’s useful when it’s time to overthrow the (heternormative, white-supremacist, capitalist) patriarchy.


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