MIT Media Lab Director Joicho Ito reportedly resigned after his lab's financial ties to Epstein were exposed. Ito was also removed from the Board of Directors for PureTech Health, which he worked for at the same time as his lab was in partnership with Epstein. Amazingly, Ito was also on the board at the Times, a position he has held since 2012.
In a recent email to MIT's provost announcing his resignation, Ito explained that after he gave the matter "a great deal of thought," he decided to leave the institution entirely, "effective immediately."
Ito had previously acknowledged that he at one point accepted a $525,000 donation from Epstein, "as well as $1.2 million for his personal investment funds."
Just days prior to Ito's resignation, the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow revealed that Ito had spent quite a bit of time trying to cover up his relationship with Epstein. Dozens of pages from emails and other documents that Farrow obtained reveal that Epstein had actually been "disqualified" from MIT's official donor database, even though Ito and his lab continued to accept donations from Epstein.
MIT's Media Lab also solicited consultations with Epstein about how to use the funds he was donating, as well as covered up these contributions by tagging them as "anonymous." There is also evidence to suggest that Ito tried to shield what these donations were actually for, both from the public and from the rest of the university.
"... Epstein appeared to serve as an intermediary between the lab and other wealthy donors," Farrow writes.
These other wealthy donors, it turns out, include technologist and "philanthropist" Bill Gates, one of the founders of Microsoft. Investor Leon Beck also made contributions that Epstein apparently covered up in terms of who made them.
In an email to his colleagues upon his resignation, Ito apologized for this chapter in his life, which he described at "truly difficult." He reiterated that he is "confident the lab will persevere" notwithstanding.
During his tenure at MIT, Ito helped to raise more than $50 million for its Media Lab, including a $2 million gift that has now been identified as having come from Gates. Amazingly, this gift from Gates was reportedly "directed by Jeffrey Epstein" five years after Epstein had pleaded guilty to a sex charge involving a minor in Florida.
"For gift recording purposes, we will not be mentioning Jeffrey's name as the impetus for this gift," wrote Peter Cohen, who at that time worked as a development official in MIT's Media Lab, in an email.
Gates' people have since tried to defend his name, claiming that he supposedly believed that Epstein was only interested in "philanthropy." But it is a fact that Gates also flew on Epstein's private "Lolita Express" airplane back in 2013, which was long after Epstein had already admitted to being a pedophile.
Meanwhile, others at the MIT Media Lab have tried to express their disgust over its partnership with Epstein, only to be ignored. One development associate and alumni relations coordinator by the name of Signe Swesen told the media that her concerns were "never listened to," and that it was just business as usual.
In a recent statement, MIT President Rafael Reif stated that accepting money from Epstein was a "mistake of judgment," adding that he has asked MIT's general counsel to begin "an immediate, thorough, and independent investigation" of the scandal.
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