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Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Reid Hoffman, the venture capitalist and LinkedIn founder, appears regretful for his role in enabling Jeffrey Epstein's post-conviction rehabilitation.

What he's saying: In an email to Axios, Hoffman writes, "The abuse described by Jeffery Epstein’s survivors is abhorrent, horrific, and disgusting. I am hopeful survivors can attain justice and support, and the communities damaged by these events can begin healing."

My few interactions with Jeffrey Epstein came at the request of Joi Ito, for the purposes of fundraising for the MIT Media Lab. Prior to these interactions, I was told by Joi that Epstein had cleared the MIT vetting process, which was the basis for my participation. My last interaction with Epstein was in 2015. Still, by agreeing to participate in any fundraising activity where Epstein was present, I helped to repair his reputation and perpetuate injustice. For this, I am deeply regretful.
Recent reporting has made clear allegations of willful deception across multiple departments at MIT. Wherever this is true, this is completely unacceptable and needlessly tarnishes the work of MIT faculty and students. I support a thorough, independent investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s connections and am hopeful that the investigation announced by President Rafael Reif exposes the flaws in the existing process and establishes new clear safeguards moving forward.

Hoffman invited both former MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito and Epstein to an August 2015 dinner in Palo Alto with Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel. He tells Axios that he invited Epstein at Ito's behest, and only because Ito vouched for the convicted criminal, saying that he had successfully cleared MIT's vetting process.

  • Hoffman funded the Media Lab's Disobedience Award, given to "individuals and groups who engage in responsible, ethical disobedience aimed at challenging norms, rules, or laws that sustain society’s injustices." Last year the award went to #MeToo leaders.
  • The Disobedience Award takes the form of a glass orb fabricated by star MIT professor Neri Oxman. Hoffman received a similar orb. So did Epstein. Sources say that Oxman, who did not respond to requests for comment, received a significant amount of MIT's Epstein-linked money.

The big picture: Hoffman, here, is blaming Ito for vouching for Epstein. MIT president Rafael Reif is doing the same thing, in a letter where he talks about how his office "accepted Joi's assessment" of Epstein.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

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Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

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Biden's inflation danger

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President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.