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Anand Ghiridaradas is doing the right thing, respect.

This (long) comment will consist of 2 parts: part 1 that postulates and highlights what it really is about at the MIT Media Lab (hush money and cloak of charity), and a total plot twist that is part 2! fasten your seat belts.

PART 1 : THE CLOAK OF CHARITY

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Anand is doing the right thing, but he fails to connect some dots, which causes him to view Ito & Co as more malicious than I suspect he actually is (even though Anand is *entirely correct* that Ito & Co's decisions resulted in enabling perpetrators). Don't misunderstand me, I am *not* trying to whitewash Ito & Co's role here!

Rather I think Anand cannot see the forest for the trees (which he explicitly says by the way, when he repeatedly asks for and tries to understand why on earth Ito & Co made the decisions they did).

Whatever the crime in sex related matters, nearly everyone is obsessed with proving their stance (to give moral support to whatever anonymous victims), instead of trying to imagine where the victim(s) currently are, what they go through, how old they are now, etc...

It will be much easier if I *postulate* part of (not my claim but) my *hyptothesis* up front: that this is a textbook case of hush money and the cloak of charity.

1) One or more victim(s) of Epstein (and thus simultaneously victim(s) of the clients of his minor prostitution ring), who is by now adult, would currently study, PhD-study or work at the MIT Media Lab.

2) The money arriving would be hush money for the victim(s), being given directly or in the form of scholarship, or as a continued position at the MIT Media Lab. This may have been promised to them at the time of the crimes, or be done to keep their mouth shut in general.

Let's go through Anand's twitter thread you posted [0]

>... as Mr. Ito focuses on "healing the Media Lab community" according to an email he sent that was reviewed by The Times.

So Ito is thinking about victim(s) present in the Media Lab community!

Anand:

>Think about it. A felonious sexual predator on girls needs redemption after his conviction.

>He donates to universities as part of this pursuit. And in this case, the director of a lab parlays that university relationship into one for personal profit.

>... The predator uses the university. The university uses the predator. The lab director takes personal advantage of an institutional relationship.

> And, because these are literally some of the smartest people in the world, eveeryone has reason to understand the nature of the transaction: MIT is bartering with Epstein, offering him reflected prestige for cash

> The prestige helps stave of justice for his accusers

This is where I see a plot hole in Anand's interpretation (which as we see later, he can not really explain himself). So let's unpack this and do away with his generalization to MIT selling prestige to a sex offender: let's soften his claim to the MIT Media Lab selling prestige to a sex offender, or let's soften his claim even more to Ito & Co selling prestige to the sex offender.

Why on earth would entity A sell prestige to radioactive entity B? This is the plot hole:

Prestige is with respect to the world:

For such a transaction to occur there needs to be a mutual understanding between Ito & Co:

Either the agreement does or doesn't allow Epstein to mention this affiliation with the MIT Media Lab so let's split up in cases:

1) the understanding that Ito & Co have no qualms with Epstein telling the world he donates to MIT Media Lab, enabling Epstein to enjoy a rise in prestige: but why on earth would Ito & Co participate in certain self-defamation? The motive of Ito & Co evaporates.

2) or the understandng that Epstein can not tell the world he donated to MIT Media Lab: but why on earth would Epstein do this if this does not restore his prestige? Now the motive of Epstein evaporates.

There can not be a mutual benefit or deal *in Anand's interpretation that this is a prestige for cash deal*!

Thus this can not be about Epstein trying to restore his prestige. This is simply textbook hush money to hush the victim(s). But I certainly agree with Anand's conclusion that something "helps stave off justice for the accusers [or rather victim(s)]" even if he arrives at the same conclusion for the wrong reason. The reason it helps stave off justice for the victim(s) is because prolonged dependance on the whims of the perpetrators for reparations is psychologically extremely damaging for the victim. Things others would consider mundane and everyday rights like freedom of speech is what these people receiving hush money can not experience: at every moment of their lives a voice in the back of their head tells them they can not speak *too freely*. They are robbed in this sense of their freedom. Every time they open their mouth to say something their mental "hush interrupt controller" stalls them to make sure they don't say too much about their past lest it not affect their future prospects in life. They are not free, and do not feel free like you and me.

Next Anand writes:

> I sent an email requesting that all of Joi's correspondence with Epstein be made public, so that ...

> Disappointingly, Joi didn't deign to respond personally - even though he was the one who invited me and he had earlier relayed an openness to field questions and concerns people had.

Consider how disclosure of the correspondence between Ito and Epstein could reveal the fact that they were mediating hush money (I assume this is a crime? and accepting hush money to not talk about the primary hush money, which I assume is a crime too?) to the victim(s) at MIT Media Lab, if only the names were redacted, and could leave suspiciously long redactions if not just the name but this fact was disclosed! Think of Ito & Co as "protecting the dignity of the victim(s)" type of justification in their mind.

> Instead, another of his plutocratic backers, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn fame, spoke for him

> Hoffman basically hid behind bureaucracy and the old "ongoing investigation" excuse. He said it would be complicated to release the correspondence because other names might get dragged in. Someone should tell him about redaction.

^ this is consistent with my interpretation, where Anand reads it as strictly protecting perpetrators, Ito & Co could be considering the privacy rammifications for the victim(s) currently at MIT Media Lab.

Then Anand shares the thoughtful and profound email he sent to Ito & Co and others at MIT Media Lab, from which it is crystal clear Anand is unambiguously trying to do the right thing.

Especially brutally honest is this quote, from which it is  obvious that Anand is at least honestly trying to reach the most charitable interpretation of the situation, even though he can't find one:

> I'm struggling to find a way to make sense of this situation that does not lead me to write the sentence "Respected tech and academic leader raised money from convicted pedophile and leveraged that institutional connection to personally profit from the relationship." I am not trying to be unkind, but I would need help to understand why this sentence isn't true.

So Anand readily admits he is not sure of his interpretation, but simultaneously insists on a clarification of the motives of Ito & Co, in order to not socially support (as colleagues or friends) those who do the bidding of convicted sex offenders. I think nearly anyone in his position would feel the same, as did 2 others who resigned / quit the MIT Media Lab before him.

From the remainder of his brilliant choose-your-own-adventure resignation letter, it is clear Anand is quite selfless and prefers stepping down from the offer to be part of the Disobedience Award as long as Epstein-enablers are among their midst, also succinctly summarized by Anand next:

>My proposal in a nutshell: Anyone seriously tainted by Epstein should step down. If they wouldn't, then I would instead. Their choice.

Noble and selfless indeed, note that at no point is Anand making this all about himself at all (read the mail yourself at ref [0] by heymijo's post above if you want).

When Ito & Co did not respond, he sent another email, again succinctly summarized by Anand as:

>I sent a third note, wondering wheither MIT really wanted to go down as more responsive to people like Epstein than people unlike Epstein

But again Joi Ito does not respond, but Hoffman does!

>Reid Hoffman, who I assumed was too busy to answer as the guy who sends all those LinkedIn emails, again stood like a bouncer protecting his philantropic ward.

>Reid now attacks my email, which proposed that either Joi step down or I would.

>Apparently according to him, my email was making it "all about you"

^ if this is about hush money for the victim(s), and Hoffman were in the know, then Anand really might subjectively come across as such to Hoffman, who is thinking about the victim(s), and the role he himself and / or others played in relaying hush money.

Also genius:

>"Your responses frankly make me concerned about your ability to serve on an awards committee" Hoffman writes, presumably in between bouts of sending LinkedIn emails.

>So much for your truth-to-power award. I guess I'm the problem.

Here Anand really does shine in his fundamental approach. The others are obstructing truth.

Anand resigned:

> So I resigned. I'm sharing my emails for the sake of transparency, because people deserve to know how these things work.

> And because people should know that cruel social structures are sustained not only by outright cruelty but also by politeness and silence that entrench power.

I fully agree with Anand, but again for different reasons: it is hush money not prestige transfer as Anand thinks.

He predicts MIT will investigate itself and absolve itself (I tend to agree) and proposes Joi cede his position to one of the brilliant women in the group (I agree).

Then Anand repeats again the best explanation he could find:

>Pariahs with cash will redeem themselves through strategic and prestigious giving.

>Institutions will take it, selling them reputational makeovers.

But as I illustrated before, this is the weak plothole, like out of a badly written sleazy detective movie script, it seems to make sense while viewing, but after the end of the movie it doesn't make sense since whatever the agreement on either publicizing or keeping secret the donations, the motivation for one party or the other evaporates! And unlike a badly written movie, real life is even more perverse: there is an explanation for the transactions: it is hush money!

Sometimes life is brutally simpler and more cruel than we are prepared to accept even in the face of all evidence pointing that way.

Although the following note by Anand insinuates that in fact he does understand more than he reveals (possibly about hush money and the cloak of charity), at least if you read between the lines:

>And women will continue to be trafficked and abused, and unjust plea deals will continue to be struck, and these universities and labs will continue to be run by men who don't get it and don't want to get it. Unless people step up.

Anand's interpretation (as opposed to my hush money interpretation) also doesn't check out with what the New Yorker in the main article states:

>Dozens of pages of e-mails and other documents obtained by The New Yorker reveal that, although Epstein was listed as “disqualified” in M.I.T.’s official donor database, the Media Lab continued to accept gifts from him, consulted him about the use of the funds, and, by marking his contributions as anonymous, avoided disclosing their full extent, both publicly and within the university.

So this can not be a prestige-for-cash since Epsteins involvement was to be kept secret. Moreover it states:

>In a statement last month, M.I.T.’s president, L. Rafael Reif, wrote, “with hindsight, we recognize with shame and distress that we allowed MIT to contribute to the elevation of his reputation, which in turn served to distract from his horrifying acts. No apology can undo that.” Reif pledged to donate the funds to a charity to help victims of sexual abuse.

So if my interpretation is correct, the hush money (or hush scholarship / opportunity / ...) will still go to the victim(s) but now through a fund! So this is a limited hang-out! Everything will become clean, but everything will fundamentally be the same! Somewhat correcter though, since it doesn't force academic pen pushers to get involved, but still hush money through a cloak of charity.

This is very similar to what Ito has said according to [nbcnews]:

>Ito at a recent gathering reportedly acknowledged the “damage” his taking money from Epstein caused. He also admitted visiting Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean twice to raise money and pledged “to return or donate” the funds to “causes that support sex-trafficking victims,” The New York Times reported.

Just like Ito & Co didn't sell prestige but a cloak of charity to Epstein & Co (his [ex?]clients), so now the wider MIT participates in the Cloak of Charity, but not currently in exchange for donations, but retroactively still for donations in the past! Instead of coming out with the truth!

How is it possible that Anand misinterprets the situation (as being prestige-for-cash as opposed to a hush money or cloak of charity operation), yet Anand still does the right thing? This is an important lesson for us all: *because he fervently stands by his principles of transparency and justice, even if it rocks the boat!*

In the case my interpretation is correct: I hope the victim(s) at MIT Media Lab finds the courage to speak truth to power, psychologically the truth can set you free, one will never heal completely, but what a difference receiving compensation by judgment must be compared to receiving compensation conditioned on both one's silence and the perpetrator's whims?

PART 2 : THE PLOT TWIST !

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Just like the previously mentioned kind of bad sleazy detective movie with a glaring plot hole, when you think the plot can not get any weaker and the movie any worse, you discover an even bigger plot hole where the motives of the characters don't check out.

From the main article again:

> In October, 2014, the Media Lab received a two-million-dollar donation from Bill Gates; Ito wrote in an internal e-mail, “This is a $2M gift from Bill Gates directed by Jeffrey Epstein.” Cohen replied, “For gift recording purposes, we will not be mentioning Jeffrey’s name as the impetus for this gift.”

> An agent for Gates wrote to the leadership of the Media Lab, stating that Gates also wished to keep his name out of any public discussion of the donation.

> A spokesperson for Gates said that “any claim that Epstein directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates is completely false.”

So Gates' entourage is in deep denial!

>A source close to Gates said that the entrepreneur has a long-standing relationship with the lab, and that anonymous donations from him or his foundation are not atypical. Gates has previously denied receiving financial advisory services from Epstein; in August, CNBC reported that he met with Epstein in New York in 2013, to discuss “ways to increase philanthropic spending.”

>Black declined to comment. A source close to him said that he did not intend for the donation to be anonymous. Black has downplayed his relationship with Epstein in recent months, describing it as limited and focussed on tax strategy, estate planning, and philanthropic advice. He has declined to answer questions about business dealings with Epstein that suggest a closer relationship. Several years after Epstein’s conviction, Black and his children and Epstein jointly invested in a company that makes emission-control products.

Remember Epstein is not only a perpetrator, but also a witness of crimes commited by the clients of his underage prostitution ring!

Some rich people prefer to donate anonymously to a cause. Typically that is either because the cause is seen an unjust by a large part of the world, or it means that the donor is shy.

Until this Epstein fiasco, there was nothing publicly controversial about MIT Media Lab as far as I am aware. (correct me if I am wrong)

As far as I know the MIT Media Lab does not make holographic time-of-flight see-around-the-corner 3D porn or anything like that. Also no stem cell brain organoids etc...

So perhaps the donors were just shy?

Bill Gates wrote books, and openly donates to many charities and causes. Why on earth would he donate to MIT anonymously.

Bill Gates is not otherwise a shy person.

Bill Gates is not a dumb person. If the MIT as a wider institution than just the Media Lab formally blacklisted Epstein as a donor, and if mere individuals at the Media Lab were fully aware of Epsteins alleged past, and considered his name radioactive enough to deal in the shadows, then why wouldn't Bill Gates' geiger counter crackle beyond repair??

If Bill Gates wishes to donate to the MIT Media Lab, and for some obscure reason really wished to remain anonymous, why not donate directly, and request anonymity?

Why on earth insert an intermediary at all, let alone a sex offender?

If Epstein is paying hush money to his victim(s) through a cloack of charity, why would Bill Gates pay another man's hush money?!

This reads like a plot hole from a bad novel, and it makes my stomach turn.

To put this in a similar careful phrasing as Anand did by copying the template:

I'm struggling to find a way to make sense of this situation that does not lead me to write the sentence "Respected microsoft leader (and other members of the elite) payed (or were blackmailed to pay) hush money through a cloack of charity organised by convicted pedophile and pimp of minors (through him in order to make it harder for the victim[s] to prove that Gates [or the others] acknowledges financially his role in the crimes)." I am not trying to be unkind, but I would need help to understand why this sentence isn't true.

a small tangent: according to [thesun] Bill Gates' favourite food is: "a good old greasy cheeseburger"

I really really hope that this doesn't turn into #GreasyGates

[nbcnews] https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/writer-does-twitter-takedown-mit-media-lab-taking-money-jeffrey-n1050821

[thesun] "a good old greasy cheeseburger"

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2972610/what-does-bill-gates-eat-richest-man-in-the-world-reveals-favourite-snack-and-it-will-surprise-you/