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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Epstein case: Richard Stallman leaves MIT and Free Software Foundation

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The free software guru swept away by a fuss of the media unleashed by his own words: Richard Stallman has resigned from the CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and from the roles covered within the Free Software Foundation, a reality he founded in 1985.

Richard Stallman and the Epstein case

The decision was taken as a result of the clamor caused by some comments related to the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, an American entrepreneur convicted of sexual abuse, who committed suicide on August 10 in his cell. Last week some newspapers published a series of emails written by Stallman and sent to internal members of MIT, in which Epstein’s victims are described as allegedly “consenting”.

The messages also call into question the use of the terms “sexual abuse” and “rape” in the case of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre involved in a relationship with Marvin Minsky, a researcher believed to be one of the pioneers in the field of artificial intelligence. Below is what is read in today’s speech by Stallman.

Resignation immediate resignation from my position in the CSAIL of MIT. I’m doing it because of the pressure on MIT and on me linked to a series of misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Almost simultaneously, a short  press release was received  from the  Free Software Foundation to announce the resignation from the positions held.

On September 16, Richard M. Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, resigned as president and the board of directors. The council will be looking for a new president immediately.

Stallman is not the only MIT exponent to have defended Epstein. Recently, details emerged regarding a 7.5 million dollar donation made in 2012 by the entrepreneur (then already convicted of his crimes) in favor of the institute’s Media Lab.

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