Computer scientist Richard Stallman severed his connections with MIT on Monday after he claimed that Virginia Giuffre, one of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s trafficking victims, was “entirely willing.”
In an email thread, leaked to Vice by MIT alum Salam Jie Gano last Friday, Stallman argued that the late Marvin Minsky (an AI pioneer who died in 2016 and is accused of assaulting one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre) had not actually assaulted anyone.
Stallman, a leading voice in the free software movement, resigned on Monday as a visiting scientist at the Institute’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and as president of Free Software Foundation.
The email was supposedly sent out last Thursday by Stallman and went to a mailing list for MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. MIT alum Selam Jie Gano leaked the message.
The famed computer scientist allegedly wrote in his email:
“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.”
“The most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing.”1
Gano, who first wrote about the email thread on Medium before leaking it to VICE on Friday, said Stallman was responding to a female student’s email about an MIT protest regarding Epstein’s donations to the university.
In the thread, Stallman then argues the definition of “sexual assault,” “rape” and whether they apply to Minsky and Giuffre’s deposition statement.
The university has come under fire after Giuffre’s allegations and revelations its highly acclaimed Media Lab accepted donations from Epstein.
Before he resigned, Stallman said that his comments were “totally mischaracterized” in media coverage, in a follow-up email to MIT, adding:
“To the MIT Community, I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings.”1
Apparently, there may be more to uncover related to Epstein’s ties to MIT. Designer and MIT professor Neri Oxman apologized this week to her students for accepting a $125,000 donation from Epstein on behalf of her department. She told Dezeen that she was instructed to keep the gift confidential “so as to not enhance his reputation by association with MIT.”1
Te director of the Media Lab, Joichi Ito, resigned from the college earlier this month following claims he attempted to conceal donations from Epstein. Ito also stepped down from his position on the boards of the New York Times, the MacArthur Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The MIT Media Lab has been blindsided by the revelations that it sought cash from the disgraced financier. Not to mention the fact they tried to present his donations as if they were coming from anonymous donors in order to hide that they were from Epstein.