In the wake of the tumultuous news surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, new discoveries regarding his affiliations and ties with various other political, academic, and economic figures are coming to light. Since Epstein's suicide in August, the world has been holding its breath to determine the truth behind the murky reputation Epstein once possessed. A convicted sex offender, Epstein was linked to many powerful people around the world and within the United States, many of whom now fear for their careers should their affiliation to Epstein be exposed. An alleged list of names of those Epstein once worked with over the course of his life is now in talks to be revealed, and the latest individual whose career has come crashing down as a result of his affiliations to Epstein is Joichi Ito.
Ito, the director of a prestigious new Media Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has resigned from his role after the New York Times reported his connections to the late Epstein. According to the claims, Ito accepted donations and funds from Epstein, used for both the development of the Lab and Ito's own personal endeavors, amassing up to $1.7 million dollars. The Associated Press reports that Epstein arranged up to an additional $7.5 million dollars in donations towards MIT. The outcry and backlash from both the MIT community and the global stage, amplified in the wake of Epstein's death, were enough to make Ito step down within twenty-four hours.
The news of Ito's resignation is still fresh; the latest body in the aftermath of Epstein's dramatic demise isn't even cold. So what does this mean moving forward?
For one, a call to end corruption in high places. It is no surprise that powerful and influential people tend to work together and support one another, whether personally or financially. However, when it comes to a man like Jeffrey Epstein, a man whose crimes precede him, a man who sexually assaulted and trafficked underage girls and children, those ties to other individuals need to be exposed.
Joichi Ito was an educator at one of the world's most prestigious universities, at a time when cases like Operation Varsity Blues and the college admissions scandal loom over elite institutions, watching their every move. How can individuals such as Ito continue to educate the next generation when he has ties to such a corrupted man?
Public scandals like these are not tricky situations. News of heinous crimes should not be disregarded as baseless accusations. We cannot continue to live in a society where those in power use it to silence those who have fallen victim to it. Whether it be a history of engagement in sex trafficking or excusing domestic terror groups as 'very fine people', these things seem to be discovered every day and yet nothing has been done to deliver justice to those in need.
Moving forward, names will continue to drop from Jeffrey Epstein's infamous list of affiliations, and more people's careers will be called into question. But we must ask ourselves these questions if we are ever going to stop cover-ups like these from occurring again: When does philanthropy become collusion? How close can a person get to aiding and abetting a convicted criminal? Is everyone to blame?