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My apology regarding Jeffrey Epstein

by Joi Ito

Aug. 15, 2019

I’m sure that most, if not all of you, have seen recent news stories about Jeffrey Epstein, and I owe it to you to address my prior affiliation with him.

I met Epstein in 2013 at a conference through a trusted business friend and, in my fundraising efforts for MIT Media Lab, I invited him to the Lab and visited several of his residences. I want you to know that in all of my interactions with Epstein, I was never involved in, never heard him talk about, and never saw any evidence of the horrific acts that he was accused of.

That said, I take full responsibility for my error in judgment. I am deeply sorry to the survivors, to the Media Lab, and to the MIT community for bringing such a person into our network.

Regrettably, over the years, the Lab has received money through some of the foundations that he controlled. I knew about these gifts and these funds were received with my permission. I also allowed him to invest in several of my funds which invest in tech startup companies outside of MIT.

I vow to raise an amount equivalent to the donations the Media Lab received from Epstein and will direct those funds to non-profits that focus on supporting survivors of trafficking. I will also return the money that Epstein has invested in my investment funds.

Again, I apologize to you, my friends and colleagues, and most importantly to the survivors.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

- Joi

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