Reid Hoffman, the founder of employment-oriented social media platform LinkedIn, expressed regret over his interactions with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
He expounded on this regret in an email to Axios, saying that it followed Epstein’s first conviction for soliciting an underage prostitute. Hoffman, however, explained that he was forced to meet with Epstein after a former official of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) backed the financier.
According to the LinkedIn founder, he invited Epstein and former MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito to an August 2015 dinner in Palo Alto, California. The dinner also saw now-Twitter CEO Elon Musk, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel in attendance. Hoffman explained that Epstein’s presence at the dinner arose from Ito vouching for Epstein and telling the LinkedIn founder that the late sex offender had successfully cleared MIT’s vetting process.
That dinner was the last time Hoffman and Epstein crossed paths. Nevertheless, the LinkedIn founder deeply regretted the instance.
“Still, by agreeing to participate in any fundraising activity where Epstein was present, I helped to repair his reputation and perpetuate injustice,” he wrote in the email. “For this, I am deeply regretful.”
Hoffman also expressed support toward “a thorough, independent investigation into Epstein’s connections” and hoped that the investigation announced by MIT President Rafael Reif “exposes the flaws in the existing process and establishes new clear safeguards moving forward.”
A report by the New Yorker magazine said Ito had previously claimed that MIT took only $800,000 from the convicted sex offender and his associates over a 20-year period. However, the actual amount turned out to be $7.5 million. Reif announced an investigation on the matter when the story broke out.
Ito then resigned from his MIT post and other positions he held, including the New York Times where he sits as a board member.
Melinda Gates also regretted meeting Epstein
Hoffman is not the only individual expressing regret over meeting Epstein, despite crossing paths with him only once.
Melinda Gates, the erstwhile wife of Microsoft co-founder and technocrat Bill Gates, also regretted meeting Epstein in 2013. During a March interview on the program “CBS Mornings,” she told host Gayle King that she disapproved of Bill meeting with the financier.
“I did not like that he had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein,” Melinda said. “I made that clear to him.”
“I also met Epstein exactly one time. I wanted to see who this man was, and I regretted it from the second I stepped in the door. He was abhorrent, evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards. He was awful.”
Despite Melinda’s concern about Bill’s ties to Epstein, a former employee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said the Microsoft co-founder and other staff members continued to cultivate ties with Epstein. According to an October 2019 report by the Times, the technocrat had been meeting with the convicted sex offender on “numerous occasions” beginning in 2011.
After the story went public, documents reviewed by Al Jazeera stated that Melinda made “a number of calls” with her legal advisors. This eventually culminated with Bill and Melinda’s divorce in May 2021, which brought their 27-year marriage to an end.
Epstein, who developed a reputation as a sex offender targeting underage children, was found dead in his cell on Aug. 10, 2019, while in custody at a New York facility. While his death was ruled a suicide, the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s demise led to the possibility that he was killed.
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