MIT Employee Resigns After Reports Of Hiding Donations Tied To Jeffrey Epstein Under ‘Anonymous’ Label

Screenshot Youtube/CBS News

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Font Size:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab Director Joi Ito resigned from his position Saturday after The New Yorker revealed the research center tried to hide donations tied to Jeffrey Epstein for years.

Epstein was labeled as a “disqualified” donor in official MIT documents after the elite science and technology school became aware of his history as a convicted sex offender after 2008, but the Media Lab continued to accept donations from the disgraced multi-millionaire and mark them as “anonymous,” emails obtained by The New Yorker revealed Friday.

“After giving the matter a great deal of thought over the past several days and weeks, I think that it is best that I resign as director of the media lab and as a professor and employee of the Institute, effective immediately,” Ito said in an email Saturday, the New Yorker reported.

MIT President L. Rafael Reif announced on Saturday that the school’s general counsel would open an investigation into the case “because the accusations in the story are extremely serious” and “demand an immediate, thorough and independent investigation.”

Epstein garnered $7.5 million in donations for the Media Lab — $2 million of which was solicited from Bill Gates and $5.5 million was solicited from investor Leon Black, The New Yorker reported, citing records and accounts from current and former Media Lab faculty.

The donations from Black and Gates were described as “directed” by Epstein or made on his behalf. (RELATED: Report: Epstein’s Last Words To Lawyer Didn’t Suggest Suicide)

Ito asked Epstein to “re-up/top-off with another $100K so we can extend his contract another year,” in a 2014 email obtained by The New Yorker, to which Epstein replied, “Yes.” He then forwarded Epstein’s response to a colleague making sure the donation was “accounted for as anonymous.”

MIT Media Lab Director of Development and Strategy Peter Cohen similarly wrote in an email, “Jeffrey money, needs to be anonymous. Thanks.”

Reif apologized for the donations in an August statement but did not describe the extent of Epstein’s donations or mention how they were hidden under an “anonymous” donor label.

“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 wrote.

Epstein hanged himself in August after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges in July and denied bail.  He was facing life in prison on sex trafficking charges. The charges came about 11 years after he was given a plea deal to avoid federal charges in 2008, after pleading guilty to charges of solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact