A director at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s prestigious Media Lab is resigning — because he’s “ashamed” over the research center’s link to Jeffrey Epstein, according to a new report.
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Ethan Zuckerman, director of the lab’s Center for Civic Media, announced his plans last week and said he was “heartbroken” over the decision, the Boston Globe reported.
“I am ashamed of my institution today and starting the hard work of figuring out how to leave the Lab while taking care of my students and staff,” Zuckerman wrote to colleagues in a note obtained by the Globe. “I no longer feel I can continue working on issues of social justice under the banner of the Media Lab.”
Meanwhile, J. Nathan Matias, a visiting scholar at MIT, also announced his resignation Wednesday in light of the school’s Epstein connection.
News of Zuckerman’s departure comes on the heels of Media Lab director Joi Ito’s apology for accepting donations from the multi-millionaire pedophile for the center and his own tech startsups.
Allegations also emerged in recently unsealed court papers that one of the Epstein’s “sex slaves,” Virgina Roberts, was ordered to have sex with the lab’s founder Marvin Minsky, who died in 2016.
In a post on Medium, Zuckerman said he decided on Aug. 10 to resign after speaking to Ito but only made the news public after his boss’s mea culpa.
“My logic was simple: the work my group does focuses on social justice and on the inclusion of marginalized individuals and points of view,” wrote Zuckerman, who will step down at the end of the 2020 school year. “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, who is an associate professor, also noted the “terrible irony” of continuing to work for the Media Lab — which doled out its coveted Disobedience Prize to a trio of women for their work with the #MeToo movement.
He said in 2014, Ito, who is also a New York Times board member, asked him if he wanted to meet with Epstein.
“I refused and urged him not to meet with him,” Zuckerman said.
Ito was among officials Epstein dined with in 2014, according to previously reports.
Two years earlier, the Epstein Interests foundation made a $50,000 donation to MIT, according to campus newspaper The Tech.