MIT took 'approximately $800,000' in donations from Jeffrey Epstein's charities, MIT's president says in apology letter

Ben Gilbert
jeffrey epstein

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  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology accepted over $800,000 in donations from Jeffrey Epstein's foundations, according to a letter sent to faculty on August 23 by MIT president L. Rafael Reif.
  • The admission comes amid multiple resignations from MIT Media Lab faculty who quit after learning of the Media Lab's director Joichi Ito's connections to Jeffrey Epstein. Ito reportedly accepted over $200,000 in funding through Epstein's charities.
  • "To Jeffrey Epstein's victims, on behalf of the MIT administration, I offer a profound and humble apology," Reif said. "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."
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One of America's most prestigious schools, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, accepted over $800,000 in donations from Jeffrey Epstein's foundations. 

"Over the course of 20 years, MIT received approximately $800,000 via foundations controlled by Jeffrey Epstein," MIT president L. Rafael Reif said in a letter sent to faculty on Friday. "All of those gifts went either to the MIT Media Lab or to Professor Seth Lloyd." The extent of Epstein's donations was previously unknown, but was reported to be in the $200,000 range. 

MIT's acclaimed Media Lab is known for its innovative work in a variety of tech-related fields. It's run by director Joichi Ito, who admitted earlier this month to having accepted donations from Jeffrey Epstein over the years. In addition to his work at MIT, Ito founded and heads an investment company named Neoteny that funds a variety of tech-related startups. 

Epstein was arrested July 6 on suspicion of sex trafficking minors. He was being held without bail awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking. On August 10 Epstein died by suicide while being held at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Joi Ito

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Ito had known New York-based financier Jeffrey Epstein since 2013. He accepted funding for MIT's Media Lab from Epstein, and allowed Epstein to invest in his tech-focused investment funds outside of MIT.

In the wake of Ito's admission of accepting funding for Media Lab from Epstein, at least two members of the faculty quit in protest.

Read more: MIT Media Lab director admits accepting funding from Jeffrey Epstein for the Media Lab and for his investment fund

Thus far, Ito remains employed by MIT's Media Lab as its director — a representative from MIT declined to comment to Business Insider when asked if Ito would retain his employment.

The letter from MIT's president goes on to apologize to Epstein's victims, and promises that the school will match Epstein's donations, "to an appropriate charity that benefits his victims or other victims of sexual abuse."

You can read the full letter from L. Rafael Reif right here.

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