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Joi Ito and Reid Hoffman. Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25

Dozens of rich and influential men surrounded Jeffrey Epstein. They knew that what they were doing was wrong. That's why they were so secretive about it.

Driving the news: In the aftermath of a blockbuster report from The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow — which details that MIT Media Lab's director Joi Ito flew to Epstein's private island twice and accepted more than $8 million of donations from him — Ito resigned on Saturday from MIT Media Lab, left his board seat with the New York Times Company, and resigned from the MacArthur Foundation.

  • Leon Black remains the chairman and CEO of private equity giant Apollo; he's also the chairman of the board of the Museum of Modern Art. Black donated $5.5 million to the Media Lab at Epstein's behest, on top of a $10 million donation that he made directly to Epstein's own foundation in 2015.
  • Bill Gates donated $2 million to the Media Lab in October 2014; Ito claimed at the time that the gift was "directed by Jeffrey Epstein". Gates asked that his name be kept out of any public discussion of the donation.
  • Reid Hoffman, the venture capitalist and founder of LinkedIn, hosted a dinner with Epstein in attendance featuring the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. He also funds the Media Lab's Disobedience Award. (Epstein received an orb, which looks exactly like the Disobedience Award, for his service to the Lab.) When author and Disobedience Award juror Anand Giridharadas raised questions about the award's ties to Epstein, Hoffman was the man who slapped him down.
  • Outside the Media Lab there are many other names. The UK's Prince Andrew was close to Epstein both before and after Epstein's conviction, as was lawyer Alan Dershowitz. There are multiple connections between Epstein and Harvard, including a "special connection" with Lawrence Summers. Naturally there are ties to Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, too.

Epstein's enablers flew on his jets and visited his island and did multi-million-dollar deals with him even after he was convicted and jailed on a charge of soliciting underage girls for prostitution. Now they are starting to be held to account for their complicity.

None of these men are giving straight answers to questions about their involvement with Epstein. Black and Gates, in particular, are not explaining why they gave millions of dollars to the Media Lab in secret, with Epstein claiming full credit for those donations.

The bottom line: Epstein abused children, ruining dozens or even hundreds of lives while consorting merrily with his plutocratic friends. Those friends might have looked the other way at the time, but now — finally — they're beginning to be held accountable.

Go deeper: What we know about life and death of Jeffrey Epstein

Go deeper

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was expected that with the economy improving and company balance sheets already loaded with cash, U.S. firms would slow down their debt issuance in 2021 after setting records in 2020. But just the opposite has happened.

Why it matters: Companies generally issue bonds for one of two reasons — because they're worried about not having enough cash to cover their expenses or because they want to lever up and make risky bets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
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Japan vows deeper emissions cuts ahead of White House summit

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan on Thursday said it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030, per the AP and other outlets.

Why it matters: The country is the world's fifth-largest largest carbon dioxide emitter and a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas.

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The global race to regulate AI

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Regulators in Europe and Washington are racing to figure out how to govern business' use of artificial intelligence while companies push to deploy the technology.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, the EU revealed a detailed proposal on how AI should be regulated, banning some uses outright and defining which uses of AI are deemed "high-risk."