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Thursday, September 05, 2019

Questions for the Media Lab

My current questions for the Media Lab, in the wake of the scandal around having solicited, and received, donations from Jeffrey Epstein:
  • Is it possible that Epstein's involvement in Joi Ito's funds created a relationship where it was harder for him to see the question of soliciting, or accepting, Epstein's money for the Media Lab in an independent light? Harder, that is, than if the ML had a policy of not soliciting or accepting donations or investments for both the Media Lab and the director's own funds from the same donors?
  • Did Epstein invest in Joi Ito's outside funds before his Media Lab funding? During? After?
  • Did Epstein ever appear on the various public lists of funders of the ML? If not, was his absence unusual? Are there other funders who are not listed now, even as an anonymous donor?
  • In what forms would it have been possible for professors or students in the ML to see that Epstein was funding the ML, before Ito's email? Is it fair to call the funding "secret"?
  • When did other people in the ML communicate with Joi Ito about whether or not to accept Epstein's funding? Were there any group or public discussions?
  • When discussions did take place between Joi Ito and other ML people about whether to accept Epstein's funding, at those times did Ito already have an outside financial relationship with Epstein? If so, did Ito reveal this during the discussions?
  • What is the nature of the funding and support from Epstein that Push Singh's 2005-ish dissertation refers to? Did Singh ever travel to an Epstein property?
  • While visiting Epstein properties, did Ito ever hear about or see evidence of Epstein getting a massage? Was Ito ever offered a massage, and did he ever receive a massage?
  • According to some sources, there was at least one press release by Epstein that claimed he was funding something Media Lab-related, which he wasn't. The ML denied it, and I've read elsewhere that it was a total fabrication by Epstein. My question is, what was the ML's internal response to this? It strikes me that a former criminal, lying about funding the Lab, is something of a red flag. Were there ever discussions about cutting him off from further funding?

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