MIT 미디어 랩이 Jeffrey Epstein의 범죄를 인지하고 있으면서도 계속 작지 않은 규모의 지원을 받았다는 것이 밝혀지면서 파장이 커지고 있다. 뉴요커의 보도가 있은지 하루만에 MIT 미디어 랩의 디렉터인 Joi Ito가 교수직을 내놓고 사임했다. 흔히 ‘세계 최고의 미디어 연구기관’이라고 불리는 조직이 구역질나는 범죄를 용인하고 돈을 택했다는 점은 끔찍하게 징후적이다. 자본에 완전히 포섭된 엘리트기관은 과연 엘리트적일 수 있는가? 그 어떤 범죄도 돈으로 덮을 수 있다는 생각에 투항한 대학은 대학일 수 있는가? 아래 뉴요커와 가디언의 기사를 링크한다.
“New documents show that the M.I.T. Media Lab was aware of Epstein’s status as a convicted sex offender, and that Epstein directed contributions to the lab far exceeding the amounts M.I.T. has publicly admitted.
Update: On Saturday, less than a day after the publication of this story, Joi Ito, the director of the M.I.T. Media Lab, resigned from his position. “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 wrote in an internal e-mail. In a message to the M.I.T. community, L. Rafael Reif, the president of M.I.T., wrote, “Because the accusations in the story are extremely serious, they demand an immediate, thorough and independent investigation,” and announced that M.I.T.’s general counsel would engage an outside law firm to oversee that investigation.”
““Third culture” was a perfect shield for pursuing entrepreneurial activities under the banner of intellectualism. Infinite networking with billionaires but also models and Hollywood stars; instant funding by philanthropists and venture capitalists moving in the same circles; bestselling books tied to skyrocketing speaking fees used as promotional materials for the author’s more substantial commercial activities, often run out of academia.
That someone like Jeffrey Epstein would take advantage of these networks to whitewash his crimes was almost inevitable. In a world where books function as brand extensions and are never actually read, it’s quite easy for a rich and glamorous charlatan of Epstein’s stature to fit in.”