US

Scientist Defends Epstein Associate in Leaked MIT Emails

By Justin Morgan

A Renowned computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is under attack after a leaked email thread shows him defending an associate of Jeffrey Epstein.

According to Vice, in the email thread—leaked by MIT alum Salam Jie Gano—Richard Stallman claims the alleged victims were “entirely willing,”

Stallman argues that the late AI pioneer, Marvin Minsky, who passed away in 2016, and who also stands accused of assaulting Virginia Guiffre—one of Epstein’s victims—was not actually guilty of assault, reported FOX News.

MIT professor Marvin Minsky.
MIT professor Marvin Minsky attends the “Conversations In Cinema: 2001: A Space Odyssey” panel discussion held at PACE University during the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 27, 2008. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

“The word ‘assaulting’ presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way, but the article itself says no such thing. Only that they had sex,” wrote Stallman, referring to an article regarding Giuffre’s testimony against Minsky.

“The most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him an entirely willing.”

Timestamps on the emails—which Gano originally leaked to Medium, and later to VICE—reveal that the exchange began on Tuesday.

Stallman was reportedly responding to a student’s email regarding a protest against donations Epstein made to MIT.

As the thread progresses, Stallman argues whether the definition of “sexual assault,” and “rape,” apply to Minsky and Giuffre’s deposition statement.

“The injustice is in the word “assaulting.” The term “sexual assault” is so vague and slippery that it facilitates accusation inflation: taking claims that someone did X and leading people to think of it as Y, which is much worse than X,” he wrote.

“The word “assaulting” presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way, but the article itself says no such thing. Only that they had sex.

We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates.

US software freedom activist and computer programmer Richard Stallman.
US software freedom activist and computer programmer Richard Stallman. (Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)

“I’ve concluded from various examples of accusation inflation that it is absolutely wrong to use the term “sexual assault” in an accusation,” he added.

When a student pointed out that Giuffre was only 17 at the time of the alleged sexual activity, Stallman responds, “it is morally absurd to define ‘rape’ in a way that depends on minor details such as which country it was in or whether the victim was 18 years old or 17.”

The leak follows mounting criticism towards MIT, after it was revealed that the school’s Media Lab had accepted donations from Epstein even after he was arrested for sex crimes.

Joichi Ito, the Media Lab’s director, resigned after an article was published in The New Yorker, exposing the matter.

In an email to the provost and president of the university Ito wrote, “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.”

According to the NY Times, Ito acknowledged receiving $1.7 million from Epstein, including $1.2 million for his own investment funds.