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A 60 year old American financier who's uglier than a frog has 2 teenage eastern european models as "assistants"....does that add up to you?



It adds up when you add the fact that he was a billionaire, or at least in the vicinity.


Even young East European models have to work somewhere (at least some of them). (Paragraph called them "young women", not "teens", btw).

Should young women only be allowed to work for poor people, if they are attractive? Or maybe only for other young people? I don't think that would be a good rule.

I don't think it would be enough for an accusation. Of course with the background that Epstein was already known as a sex trafficker, it is a very different matter.


Why two beautiful young women though - that seems not to be likely due to chance and surely enough to make any rational person wonder what they hell is going on?

The thing is to make everyone who you meet a bit complicit. Two young women at the meeting is not quite enough to make anyone at the meeting intervene, but it is enough that there is then a lever - "you were at the october meet, you met Siri and Alexa... you were there weren't you? You are smart, you knew what was going on then and you didn't do a thing. How will that play if that gets out?"

It's not much of a lever, but my suspicion is that there is a slow enmeshment and escalation; a dance of probing and pulling - more intense for the more useful or more dangerous contacts. The aim is to have protection, cover and support. People who say things like "one of your assistant was sobbing in the loo, so I called mental health services" suddenly find that colleagues are talking about how socially inept they are, and how important that they are kept out of certain meetings. People who join in and show approval are regarded as "good" and "fun". Bit by bit it becomes normal. The transgressions shown to "outsiders" are safe - or at least there are explanations and the outsiders are carefully selected to be vulnerable pressure from people in the circle, but each time this happens that tar pit of complicity grows and deepens. Eventually powerful people are looking at personal ruin if the offenders are exposed.


"Why two beautiful young women though - that seems not to be likely due to chance and surely enough to make any rational person wonder what they hell is going on?"

What if a person likes to work with beautiful young women? That's generally part of why people are being called beautiful - because people feel elated in their company.

Let's not pretend that looks don't matter in this world. If you have two equally qualified candidates for a job, perhaps you take the prettier one.

Maybe there is also an effect on meetings. Haven't there been studies on how men behave differently in the presence of attractive women? Maybe it is strategy to bring attractive women to business meetings, to change the dynamics.

Just saying there could be any number of reasons.

Personally I feel it is OK to act according to one's preferences (within bounds of no coercion and so on). If you prefer to be surrounded by attractive women, you should be allowed to act accordingly. I know not everyone agrees. (and please, I am not defending Epstein, I don't think sexual exploitation is OK - I am talking here about the general setting of hiring young assistants).


> "... so I called mental health services" suddenly find that colleagues are talking about how socially inept they are

What is the right behavior then?

Should have Joi Ito recognize that "two beautiful young women" bait and cancelled all potential business with Epstein?


>What is the right behavior then?

To contact mental health/wellbeing officers in your institution, and to be on record as having done it. There will be short term costs, but in the long term the costs of not doing so could be catastrophic.

>Should have Joi Ito recognize that "two beautiful young women" bait and cancelled all potential business with Epstein?

I don't know because I wasn't there and I don't know the circumstances around the meeting. In the hypothetical universe I think that the best case is that people's radars click into action and the folks left in the room say "that was super weird, I don't like this, what the hell are we doing talking to these people, let's stop". In the real world when you're doing something you believe in, you need money for that, and you are under pressure, I can imagine that not happening.

A big problem is that it shouldn't be a single person or a narrow group making these decisions. There should be wide group who met with Epstein and knew what was going on, and in the best case I think that it would be good to get everyone in a room and say "what did we think"? Perhaps also some specific follow up meetings with quieter or more insightful members of the group "what did you think?". One question "ok, does anyone have a red flag here?" would (I think) give me a lot of comfort even if it later turned out that I had made a deal with Stalin - at least I asked, at least I wasn't just a fool.

Process and culture - yet again.


> contact mental health/wellbeing officers

That may terminate the career of donations receiving officer.

In addition to losing that particular donor, other donors may start worrying if they will end up being investigated after attempting to donate.

> it shouldn't be a single person or a narrow group making these decisions

Big bureaucracy is expensive and may consume a significant part of donation money.

> a deal with Stalin

In spite of Stalin being a villain, WW2 deal that UK and the US made with Stalin against Nazy Germany -- was a positive one.


We never should have made that deal, Stalin was actually worse than the whole Nazi regime of murderous scum. At least the Germans had style and before you accuse me of being some kind of 88er, I will remind you that the big shots in the US loved Hitler in the 1930s, the adored what he was doing for Germany because it was so technologically progressive and forward looking.

Plenty of American businesses made money off of the Nazi regime. IBM. The Bush family, and many others. It wasn't until the horrific crimes committed during the war that everyone here quickly distanced themselves from Germany and pretended that they never liked them and were never anti-semitic.

As far as Epstein goes, I don't think we're even asking the right questions. The underage girls, despite being underage, all knew what was going to happen when they went to that island or to meet up with Epstein or his compatriots. What is more important is, how did the blackmail operation run and who received the photos and videos?


The keywords in my sentence was "american" and "eastern european"

EE is known for sex trafficking young beautiful women and mainly in Europe. That an American has his hands on them is even stranger.


Why are we judging people by their looks? Is that what the righteous thought-leaders of Y Combinator and Hacker News do?

Why are young women who look like "models" not credible at MIT Media Lab?


The keywords in my sentence was "american" and "eastern european"

EE is known for sex trafficking young beautiful women and mainly in Europe. That an American has his hands on them is even stranger.


I don't disagree that something didn't appear right here. However, the folks here at Hacker News are only judging these women by their appearance and nothing else.

It's not good when an attractive young person visiting MIT is viewed with suspicion because of some prejudice against attractive individuals and youth.


Ah I see now. Yes.




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