According to friends, Epstein showed up at a TED conference circa 1999 with 6 plus-ones, all listed as "Mrs Jeffery Epstein". (The tickets were something like $5k in 2019 dollars.) They don't recall them as being under-age, but it definitely seemed sleazy. Their recollection is that Epstein used them to meet people; the women would go chat somebody up and bring them back to Epstein.
Abusers are well known for grooming victims, but they also groom allies. So it's not surprising that among this list we find people who are either hopelessly naive or of dubious character themselves. In retrospect it doesn't seem like a coincidence that around the same time Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey were zooming around on Epstein's plane.
Let that be a lesson to all of us. If we suddenly experience an overwhelming amount of positive attention, it's worth asking ourselves whether it's the love-bombing  common to narcissistic manipulators.
Following that, we can take a look at the harm done by Epstein and do some comparisons.
As it's a moral question, there's not going to be any unambiguous right or wrong answer and we're all going to have different perspectives. One might even argue that you have a moral imperative to take his money for practically any reason so long as you are not directly assisting his other actions, since it means you are taking a chip, regardless of how small, out of the resources he had to carry on with said other actions.
As another example on this topic in Columbia the big drug dealers would frequently use their ill gotten wealth to do positive things such as fund schools for local towns. And these guys were involved in far worse behavior - murdering large numbers of people, often in brutal fashion to send a message. And that was similarly no secret. Should the townspeople have rejected their offer?
But you replied to my point about abusers exploiting the well-meaning and naive. I don't see what bringing up an obvious fact about moral complexity does here, especially since you refuse to engage usefully with your own point. Except of course to confuse the issue.
In practice, I don't think I've seen any attempts by Epstein associates to really grapple with the moral balance, to weigh the ends against the means. What I mostly see is them taking the money and either supporting him or dodging the hard questions. There isn't anybody willing to say, "Yeah, I suspected he was a manipulative, sex-trafficking pedophile, but I was cool with it because here's what the world got out of it."
There are plenty of good places to discuss moral nuances. But maybe try it in a place where it doesn't derail from holding people accountable for their behavior.
Online 'accountability' often heads directly into the domain of mob mentality. I think if more people stopped to ask 'hey is our outrage even really justified?' that the world be a much nicer place for everybody.
And neither do you, or you wouldn't be here arguing for some very specific moral choices of your own. You claim you're not taking any specific position, but you of course are. Your repeated intervention in the discussion demonstrates that. And your unwillingness to spell out the implications of that position is telling.
Of course he gained in the exchange. He was an astute buyer of prestige, of legitimacy. Look at the scientists who went to bat for him after he had already been indicted, even convicted.
Is this what journalism is ? - Naming and Shaming people where there is no crime or unethical act committed.
Look at Ethan Zuckerman's post on leaving MIT where you can see he urged Joi Ito to not get involved with Epstein because it was already well known that he was abusing underage girls:
What about hiring people who are ex felons who served time?
Who should decide what ex-cons we can and can't associate with? I'd like to know ahead of time, because I want to give the right people a second chance, but also avoid having my career ruined for giving the wrong person a second chance. Which twitter mob will enumerate this for me?
Perhaps in this case the problem is that corruption resulted in Epstein getting far too light of a sentence. I think it did. Is it the fault of normal civilians for not realizing and compensating for judicial corruption? Should we ruin their careers for the failure of our elected officials to prevent corruption?
Optically it's bad, morally it's bad. There's also more to this than just "work" as well. If someone was a convicted child rapist, would you invite them and a bunch of young women to your parties and take pictures like this?
If we think our laws aren't working, so we need Twitter vigilante shame justice, i would prefer we rework our laws
I don't think there is any claim that these scientists attended his under-age orgies, and were thus granted funding.
Doesn't that apply to all crimes that include victims? If I understand it correctly, that's the question there: do we treat a convicted sex offender differently than, say, a murderer or ponzi scheme operator? Critique regarding his deal and the punishment aside, do they get a clean slate after they've "paid their debt to society" or not?
However, in this particular case, insofar as events have even made it to a court decision, it seems at no point this person changed their ways, and simply used his wealth to fund the legal details of continuing his behavior. I'm not sure what methods exists or what methods could be invented to account for such misuse of wealth, but it is clear this person was afforded too many second chances: he seems to have never intended to correct his behavior. It seems to me that in that space it is valid to exercise your personal right to not associate with a lastingly suspect character.
1) His "punishment" was an illegally arranged joke.
2) There's a vast chasm between shaming someone convicted of a crime and Epstein's welcomed return to polite society. He should've been working a wage-slave job like the rest of us.
> Should we reasonably expect all persons to notice when justice isn't served due to corruption, and then ruin their career as a result?
For a well-documented monster? YES!
Don't worry there are thousands of scientists ready to take the place of people like Pinker and the other "fallen heroes".
The answer to these questions is: It's totally up to you who you associate with.
I think “of interest by association” is more what is going on,and appropriately so.
> Is this what journalism is ? - Naming and Shaming people where there is no crime or unethical act committed.
“investigating and reporting facts related to matters of public interest even before it is clear what the import of those facts are, in part because that both provokes people to come forward with related information and enables additional parties to do their own related inquiries” would be more accurate than your loaded language, but, yes, reporting on matters that provide context to matters already in the public eye (which, in this case, do involve both crimes and other unethical acts) that are not themselves clearly criminal or unethical is an important part of journalism.
I think it's especially obvious with churches. When a bunch of people get together to fund and empower a guy, they share responsibility for what is done with that power. If that power is used to harm, a factual accounting of who did what seems entirely fair, as does asking them what they have to say for themselves.
Your analogy isn't very good, though, because all of the people mentioned in this article are public figures. They sought out prominent roles in society. They receive significant benefits from the public, either directly or indirectly.
These are the same activists posing as journalists that label someone like Joe Rogan "alt-right adjacent" because he's willing to have a conversation with people right of center.
It's fine to bag politicians and 'other tycoons' who associated with him. There are legitimate concerns about influence and, you know, who else is a pedo, in those cases.
But I think if I had been a scientist in need of funding, I'd gladly have taken his money, even knowing about the convictions. In fact, I'd have tried to to take as much as I possibly could, and then tell him to FO once I'd done my breakthrough study.
It's different if the scientists were 'bending' their results to his benefit, but I don't think that's the case here.
And I absolutely think it matter where the money comes from, because not all money is equal. Funding agencies, grants, and other sources of money all have their own conditions, terms, and obligations. If you think Epstein's was without, then I think that is naïve.
If it's just money from a bad guy that happens to be interested in AI, medicine, or whatever, and I really suspect he justified himself by funding such 'good causes' - take it all! Ruin him!
Epstein was some kind of confidence man and hustler in addition to using underage girls for sex. It's interesting to see how wide his network was. He was able to buy or wiggle into the life of these people using his money and connections.
If you met him after his first brush with the law (and that's putting it very delicately) yes, you are guilty of association. I don't think it should be taken lightly.
The article itself doesn't make any accusations outside of the association.
Guilty of which crime ?
It looks like he started with the current attorney general’s father, who hired him to teach at a school despite him not having any relevant credentials, then managed to get to one of the kids parents who brought him to Wall Street.
I know Mossad has a reputation of being a law unto itself unbound by outside authority, but it is not actually a distinct state—if you want to say Israel, just say Israel.
I am NOT ever anti-semitic, but maybe Mossad gets away with crazy stuff exactly because any westerner who complains is immediately branded as such.
Note: the entire post is flagged now and removed from HN front page.
It would help to present some rational basis supporting the, conclusion.
Of course, if you can't see how your conclusion could be seen as anything other than anti-Semitic, maybe there is a reason for that.
It’s not unreasonable to suspect he successfully compromised both a sitting US president and the son of the Queen of England, and that is only the beginning of the list.
Which intel agency is most likely? Obviously Mossad should be at the top of the list ... but yeah OK let’s remove it, I’m anti-semitic.
She's been doing an amazing job digging into Epstein's relationships with the science and tech community (some of it first hand).
For example: https://twitter.com/xeni/status/1165266579560521728
> "John Brockman knew. Here he is with one of Jeffrey Epstein’s rape victims on one side, and alleged abuse coordinator"
Being photographed with someone isn't the same as knowing that they're being raped. Is there more to that?
The kind of thought process that you're suggesting has very toxic tendrils.
Comparing this to avoiding black people based solely on the color of their skin (and not that there are warning signs) is not remotely the same.
Or it's not, because your preconceptions aren't universal? Is there a factual basis for this other than "I don't like it"?
> Comparing this to avoiding black people based solely on the color of their skin (and not that there are warning signs) is not remotely the same.
It looks exactly the same to me. Many people think that black skin is a warning sign. The difference is in what you believe, not in what is happening.
When? The caption on the photo says "early 2000s". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Epstein says that the accusation leading to his first criminal case didn't happen until 2005. His conviction didn't happen until 2008. So how does that fit into the "early 2000s" timeline?
The problem isn't that scientists went to him for his wealth, but that he had wealth after the first set of convictions. This should be our focus.
Looks like someone was able to read Epstein from afar and keep the distance.
Edit: I do think that Harvard, et al singing praises to him knowing he was a pedophile is wrong. But the article is really confusing as to what is trying to say (and it wouldn't be the first time science and human rights abuses or crimes are associated).
No conspiracy theories please. We have enough assaults on truth as it is.
When the most important prisoner of the century so far suffers an untimely death in a facility which hasn't had a successful suicide for forty years, after a cascade of serious institutional failures, and that prisoner has had continuous access to extremely gifted scientists and medical practitioners for decades...
I think it's likely that he's dead, but the alternatives are within the realm of reality. It may be a conspiracy theory, but you know... sometimes people conspire don't they?
People theorize about all sorts of other things on this platform; things far more unimaginable than this.