The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that renowned linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky had multiple meetings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, sparking controversy and criticism.
The 94-year-old reportedly met with Epstein on several occasions in 2015 and 2016, while Chomsky was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The meetings happened years after Epstein's conviction as a sex offender.
Speaking to the WSJ, Chomsky said his interactions with Epstein were private, adding "I knew him and we met occasionally."
Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 before he could stand trial for his alleged decades-long grooming and sexual abuse, including the raping of young girls in the 1990s and early 2000s.
According to the Daily Wire:
In March 2015, Epstein scheduled a meeting with several academics, including Chomsky and Harvard University professor Martin Nowak. Chomsky said they met at Nowak's research institute multiple times to discuss neuroscience, among other topics.
Approximately two months later, Epstein was scheduled to fly with Chomsky and his wife to have dinner with them, as well as Woody Allen and his wife.
During at least one occasion in 2015, Chomsky was scheduled to fly with Epstein to dine at Epstein's Manhattan townhouse, where the financier was accused of sexually abusing underage girls. Chomsky maintained that his conversations with Epstein revolved around politics and academics.
Chomsky also noted that, at the time he was spending time with Epstein, the only known information about Epstein was that he had been convicted of a crime and served his sentence, which, according to US laws and norms, provided him a "clean slate."
Epstein donated at least $850,000 to MIT between 2002 and 2017. The institution has since acknowledged the impropriety of accepting Epstein's donations and donated an equal amount to nonprofits that support sex abuse survivors. Lawyers investigating MIT's connections to Epstein found no evidence that Chomsky met with Epstein on campus or received funding from him.
As detailed by the WSJ, Epstein also donated more than $9.1 million to Harvard from 1998 to 2008. In 2021, Harvard punished professor Martin Nowak for violating university policies regarding Epstein by giving him "unrestricted" access to campus, including an office and a building key card.