MIT researcher and open source software activist Richard Stallman has resigned over a series of writings in which he defended convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and child pornography. Stallman also resigned from the Free Software Foundation.
Breitbart News reported last week on the extensive financial relationship between MIT and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. According to reports, Epstein funneled in millions of dollars in donations to MIT’s Media Lab. The lab’s director, Joi Eto, resigned from his position in the aftermath of the scandal.
Now, reports are resurfacing comments from celebrated computer scientist Richard Stallman, who once argued that one of Epstein’s young victims was “entirely willing.” Now, Stallman has resigned from his “visiting scientist” position at MIT, as well as stepping down from his role of president at the Free Software Foundation.
In an email, Stallman argued that Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s trafficking victims, consented to sex with the late MIT Professor Marvin Minsky. She “presented herself to him as entirely willing,” Stallman wrote, “I’ve concluded from various examples of accusation inflation that it is absolutely wrong to use the term ‘sexual assault’ in an accusation.”
In another resurfaced piece of writing, Stallman argued that child pornography should be legal. “This ‘child pornography’ might be a photo of yourself or your lover that the two of you shared. It might be an image of a sexually mature teenager that any normal adult would find attractive. What’s heinous about having such a photo?” Stallman wrote in 2011 in a blog post.
MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Director Daniela Rus penned a letter to her colleagues this week in which she announced that Stallman was resigning.
I am writing to let you know that today Richard Stallman submitted his resignation from the lab, effective immediately. In the weeks ahead, we will work with him to come up with a transition plan.
We thank him for his technical contributions to the lab, to the free-software movement, and to the wider computer-science community over the decades.
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