MIT Media Lab’s Joi Ito out in disgrace & there is more to do

Mary Lou Jepsen

Joi Ito lied to me, and to many others including, obviously MIT. I posted a long piece — link here — on why Joi Ito staying or going wasn’t the solution a week ago. I was too trusting and was wrong — Joi did not follow the rules. Voldemort?

Joi lied to us all, and I was one of the last to see it. The emails that Ronan Farrow posted in the New Yorker piece last night show that — link here.

Why am i still talking now?

Clay Shirky @cshirky pointed out that I appeared to use my reputation to protect Joi — like Joi used his reputation to protect Epstein.


My response: I did wish to use my position to create a space to think about the broader, deeper set of problems, the problems that are still left unsolved and problems that some universities (maybe Harvard?? ) seem to have no interest in discussing publicly or resolving. What Joi did was repugnant. The bigger issues I spoke of in that piece from a week ago remain (link here).

This doesn’t end with Joi Ito’s resignation. Was that $2M from the Gates Foundation? The Gates Foundation said it wasn’t, and obviously they didn’t need Epstein to spend their money. So if not Gates, who was it from? Where did Jeffrey Epstein get his money? How deep and far does this go? How much dirty money has been hidden this way at the Media Lab, MIT, and other institutions?


Note 1: Response to Larry Lessig’s piece on virtues of anonymous funding (link here) — Anonymous funding is not virtuous — and wasn’t anonymous for Joi Ito. He knew. In this case it got Epstein a seat (or three — two of which were for his prostitutes or worse — raped and trafficked girls) at one of the top tables in academia, and of course, blocked anyone that spoke up against Joi and Epstein.

Note 2: It’s data that wins, not accusations. I really now will help the accusers get more data. I believed the President on MIT on his data. @xeni kept saying she had receipts and didn’t show them. She didn’t show data. She said she knew but, it seems, couldn’t *prove* it.

Here is the thing: believe the president of MIT, all these people at MIT who are at top levels or someone, even a brilliant someone, posting accusations without proof? The answer: get proof. Ronan Farrow got proof with the screen grabs of emails.

If Joi Ito had admitted the full totals as late as Tuesday September 3rd I think that he might have kept his position. He lied, he covered up, he broke the rules.

For the record — I didn’t defend Joi — I defended due process in signing the letter, and I talked about the bigger issues in the piece I wrote a week ago.

What I got wrong — and have admitted to here and elsewhere— many people told me Joi followed all the funding rules at MIT. That appears to be a lie, a blatant lie as Ronan Farrow’s article shows, and thus Epstein bought real influence at the top of MIT while hiding his influence from the rest of the Institute and world.

Mary Lou Jepsen

Written by

CEO and Founder of Openwater. Former exec at Google and Facebook, Co-founder & CTO of One Laptop per Child. MIT Professor. Deeply technical w/ 200+ patents

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