The head of a research center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has said he will quit in protest after the revelation of financial ties between the institution and disgraced hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein.
Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab, said he would leave at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year after finding out that lab director Joi Ito took money from Epstein, who committed suicide in prison on August 10 as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.
“My logic was simple: the work my group does focuses on social justice and on the inclusion of marginalized individuals and points of view,” Zuckerman wrote in a message posted on the Medium forum Tuesday and added to Wednesday.
“It’s hard to do that work with a straight face in a place that violated its own values so clearly in working with Epstein and in disguising that relationship.”
Zuckerman said he had apologized to the three recipients of the Media Lab’s 2018 “Disobedience Prize” who were recognized for their fight against sexual harassment in the science world.
“For me, the deep involvement of Epstein in the life of the Media Lab is something that makes my work impossible to carry forward there,” Zuckerman said.
Earlier this month, Ito apologized in an open letter for his links with Epstein, who was accused of trafficking girls as young as 14 for sex.
Ito said he met the businessman in 2013, five years after Epstein’s first conviction in Florida for paying young girls for sexual massages.
He admitted to visiting residences owned by the multimillionaire and having accepted financial assistance for the Media Lab and for his own investment fund.
While taking “full responsibility for my error in judgment,” Ito said “that in all of my interactions with Epstein, I was never involved in, never heard him talk about, and never saw any evidence of the horrific acts that he was accused of.”
Other scientists, including Harvard genetics professor George Church, have apologized for having contacts with Epstein.
The hedge fund manager had portrayed himself as a “science philanthropist” and was friendly with several renowned scientists.
According to recently released court documents quoted by US media, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, said as a teenager she was forced to have sex at one of Epstein’s residences with Marvin Minsky, a co-founder of the MIT Media Lab who died in early 2016.
China virus death toll rises as President Xi warns of ‘grave situation’
China extended long-distance travel curbs Sunday as the death toll from the new coronavirus rose to 56 with more than 2,000 people infected globally as foreign consulates and multinationals planned limited evacuations of personnel and citizens from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called the outbreak a grave situation, and the government stepped up efforts to restrict travel and public gatherings while rushing medical staff and supplies to Wuhan, which remains on lockdown.
The latest figures reported in China Sunday morning cover the previous 24 hours and mark an increase of 15 deaths and 688 cases for a total of 1,975 infections.
Nancy Pelosi missed a big opportunity in impeachment — but she still has time to fix it
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her reasons for limiting her impeachment articles to offenses stemming from the abuses and violations related to Ukraine. Unfortunately, she declined to pursue a broader impeachment approach that recognizes multiple provable, serious violations of the Constitution. Speaker Pelosi overruled Chairs of Committees, including the Judiciary Committee, and other senior lawmakers who wanted to forward to the Senate a broader array of impeachable offenses.
Having lost four of the last five House elections to the worst Republican Party in history, Speaker Pelosi remains cautious. She is overly worried about the conservative Democrats who won congressional seats in 2018 in Republican, pro-Trump districts. Endangering their seats might, Pelosi fears, lead to the loss of the House in 2020 and, more immediately, risk not having the votes in the House to pass additional impeachable offenses.
Scrambling Trump promises to ‘save’ social security after threatening to cut it — but it’s seniors who will pay for his recklessness
It used to be said that cutting Social Security was politics’ third rail, a fatal taking of positions.
If that’s still true, you wouldn’t know it from the emerging attention that cutting Social Security is getting.
Indeed, look at Trump’s handling of Social Security, and you may find real flaws in the armor of a Best-of-All-Time economy cloak that Trump tries to wear.
Even as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden mix it up over whether Biden did or did not say something supportive about a Republican plan in 2008 by then-Rep. Paul D. Ryan for spending reductions, here comes Donald Trump to promise that he is open to revamping entitlement programs towards the end of the year.