MIT Media Lab co-founder’s surprise defense of Jeffrey Epstein donation
A bigwig at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology defended the decision to accept Jeffrey Epstein’s $525,000 donation, saying that it was a move he’d support even today.
Nicholas Negroponte, who co-founded MIT’s prestigious Media Lab in 1985, admitted to encouraging director Joi Ito to take Epstein’s money and even hanging out with the dead pedophile back in the day, according to MIT Technology Review.
“If you wind back the clock, I would still say, ‘Take it. Take it,’” Negroponte said during an all-hands Media Lab meeting on Wednesday.
At the same meeting, Ito reiterated his previous apology for accepting the sex offender’s generous gift despite his 2008 conviction for procuring a minor for prostitution.
“I’m part of the problem when I thought I was part of the solution,” Ito told the crowd. “I’m that guy that I thought I was going after.”
The meeting was designed to address growing backlash over the university’s ties to Epstein.
But as it wrapped up, Negroponte suddenly stood up and began to speak about his privilege as a “rich white man,” saying that he had two dinners with Epstein and even flew in the financier’s private jet, known as the “Lolita Express.”
The two spoke passionately about science, said Negroponte, giving the MIT honcho confidence in recommending that Ito take Epstein’s money.
Negroponte’s comments left the audience stunned, with one woman in the front row bursting into tears and Kate Darling, a research scientist at the lab, shouting, “Nicholas, shut up!”
In a statement to the Boston Globe, Negroponte, who served as Media Lab director for 20 years, clarified that he stood by the initial decision to accept the donation but wouldn’t in light of the most recent sex-trafficking charges against Epstein.
“Yes, we are embarrassed and regret taking his money,” Negroponte told the newspaper.
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