A visiting scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has resigned over comments he made about Jeffrey Epstein, according to an email posted online.
Richard Stallman posted the resignation on his personal website Monday evening “due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.”
Stallman was a pioneer in hacker culture and the free-software movement, according to an article from CSAIL.
His comments were written about in a Vice News story, but CNN has not independently corroborated those comments.
He defended his statements in a Sept. 14 blog post.
“I want to respond to the misleading media coverage of messages I posted about Marvin Minsky’s association with Jeffrey Epstein. The coverage totally mischaracterized my statements,” Stallman wrote. “Headlines say that I defended Epstein. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve called him a “serial rapist”, and said he deserved to be imprisoned. But many people now believe I defended him — and other inaccurate claims — and feel a real hurt because of what they believe I said. I’m sorry for that hurt. I wish I could have prevented the misunderstanding.”
The director of CSAIL confirmed the resignation in a letter to colleagues and thanked Stallman for his technical contributions to the lab and to the free-software movement.
“Recent events have also prompted me and other senior leadership at the lab to focus on having a discussion on how we can improve the ways we respectfully work with one another in this community,” Professor Daniela Rus wrote. “This includes ongoing conversations about the future of the CSAIL-related listserv.”