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.
In extreme crises, conservatism can turn to fascism. Here’s how that might play out
5 movie "Back to the Future," Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels in a time machine from the 1980s to the 1950s. When he tells people of the '50s he is from the '80s, he is met with skepticism.
1950s person: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?
This article first appeared at Salon.com.Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.
1950s person: Ronald Reagan? The actor? [chuckles in disbelief] Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis [comedian]?
Who are the young people behind the Catalonia protest violence?
The violent protests that have swept Catalonia over the jailing of nine separatist leaders have involved veteran anarchists and youthful troublemakers as well as outraged separatists, some of whom became radicalised only recently.
"I am 24, have a masters and a job and I never imagined myself setting fire to a barricade with my face masked," said one protester who gave her name only as Aida.
She has joined in protests every day since they erupted in the region after Spain's Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to up to 13 years in jail for sedition over a failed 2017 independence bid.
Body language expert dissects the power dynamic at play in the iconic Nancy Pelosi photo
Last week, President Donald Trump met with Democrats at the White House to discuss the way both sides could work to fix the President's mistakes in Syria. Democrats left the White House saying that the President had another meltdown during the meeting, which prompted Trump to claim Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the one who had a meltdown. He then posted photos of Pelosi sitting quietly and another photo of Pelosi standing and pointing at him.
Body language expert Dr. Jack Brown posted the photo and gave his own analysis of what he believed was happening in the photo.
"When a person has little or no empathy — and/or when they're far from their emotional baseline, their ability to interpret how others will view an event becomes dramatically distorted," Brown explained Sunday. "Rarely has this behavioral axiom been better exemplified than last Wednesday at the White House."