Reid Hoffman. Photo: Kimberly White/Getty Images for New York Times

Venture capitalist and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman apologized Thursday in an exclusive statement to Axios for his role in Jeffrey Epstein's societal rehabilitation after his sex crimes conviction

Why it matters: We've spent lots of time castigating Leon Black for his continued relationship with Epstein, but have neglected to mention how Hoffman also played a role in Epstein's attempts to rehab his image.

  • For example, Hoffman invited Epstein to a high-powered Silicon Valley dinner in 2015, where other guests included Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Peter Thiel.

What he said: "I helped to repair his reputation and perpetuate injustice. For this, I am deeply regretful."

The big picture: Hoffman also drove another bus over former MIT Media Lab boss Joi Ito, saying that Ito had assured him that Epstein had cleared MIT's vetting process. Even if so, it's unclear why that would have outweighed Epstein's guilty plea from years earlier.

Go deeper: MIT and Jeffrey Epstein's billionaire enablers

Go deeper

Competitors ready to pounce on TikTok bans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Growing security and privacy concerns over Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok have given a lift to alternatives like Byte and Dubsmash, which have seen spikes in downloads from smartphone users recently, according to data from SensorTower.

Why it matters: If TikTok's meteoric rise in popularity among U.S. youth gets slowed by rising tensions with China, or ended by a threatened ban by the Trump administration, American teens will still have to get their hits of meme-laden video somewhere.

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U.S. pushes homegrown drone industry amid China battle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Alarmed at the prospect of relying on Chinese-made drones for public safety and monitoring critical industries, U.S. investors and the federal government are newly backing a domestic drone industry of hardware and software companies.

The big picture: The moves come as the industry continues to be led by DJI, a Chinese hardware maker — and as concerns grow both in China and the U.S. about reliance on the other country's technology.

Exclusive: The N.Y. Times doubles down on TV and film ambitions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One of the country's oldest and most established media companies is starting to look more like a Hollywood studio than a traditional newspaper.

Driving the news: The New York Times has 10 scripted TV show projects in development, as well as 3 feature documentaries coming out this year and several other documentary projects in development and production, executives tell Axios.