Time for a break from COVID and a return to a discussion that was a big deal in the land before pandemics: Jeffrey Epstein, and the way he simply glided through high society as if there was nothing wrong with being a convicted sex offender. A new report from Harvard discussed in today’s Boston Globe tells of how Epstein “had his own office in a Harvard University department and visited there more than 40 times after he was released from jail in 2010 up until 2018.”
Epstein had key cards to enter the buildings at Harvard, helpfully provide by math professor Martin Nowak, and this allowed Epstein to host dinners and other meetings there with area political figures and academics. Epstein also used the office to meet with young women, described as being in their 20’s, who “acted as his assistants.”
After taking $9.2 million from Epstein between 1998 and 2007, Harvard then learned about the 2008 sex conviction and supposedly barred any more donations being accepted from him. But it seems everyone did not get the memo and professors like Martin Nowak and scientist George Church continued to accept checks.
In 2013, at the request of Jeffrey Epstein’s publicist, Harvard published many pages on the website of its Program for Evolutionary Dynamics about Epstein, praising him as a “science philanthropist” and making false claims about how much he contributed to Harvard. His publicist also asked for Epstein to be featured on a full page of the website. All of these requests were approved. Harvard removed the materials when a sexual abuse survivors’ organization requested that they be removed in 2014.
If you are a feminist or a survivor, this report will make you very angry indeed.
It’s important not to lose sight of this story in COVID, since the Jeffrey Epsteins of the world are just those folks who will be further enabled and empowered in domestic life as we are all on lockdown. As a clinical social worker doing on-the-ground work with struggling families, I see Jeffrey Epstein’s privilege in the continuum of how men in every class in society are able to move about freely, often to the great endangerment of women and children. It’s scary and it’s probably bound to get worse as resources dry up in a down economy.