Sign in

GEN
What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.

Jeffrey Epstein

In GEN. More on Medium.

Column

Americans tend to focus on the most outrageous crimes because they give cover to more everyday misconduct

Nearly a year after the death of Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and serial sexual abuser of young girls, the country is still captivated by his story and crimes. …


The Jeffrey Epsteins of the world are done with explaining: I’m not that Jeffrey Epstein

“When you besmirch your own name, you besmirch the names of all who share’t.”

— A guy who was also named Judas, circa 33 A.D.

If you’ve ever Googled yourself, you probably know some details about your name-esis. I keep pretty close tabs on mine. She’s the frontwoman of a cool band in Austin. I bear a passing resemblance to her — enough that when I set a picture of her as my Facebook photo, most of my acquaintances thought it was me. (My heart hardened forever toward one woman who commented, “That’s such a great pic of you! Love…


How a tight-knit group of elites shaped the Media Lab

This is a story about courting money from power. It’s about how the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab was founded and funded, by whom, and how. It’s a story about Nicholas Negroponte before it was about Joi Ito and Jeffrey Epstein. And most of all, it’s a story about gall.

Last week, at a town hall meeting that was intended to reorient the Media Lab in the wake of revelations about convicted sex offender Epstein’s donations and investments, Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the Media Lab, stood up to speak about “his privilege as a ‘rich white man’ and how…


Why do media outlets continue to use language that frames some of Epstein’s actions as consensual sex?

We still don’t have the language to talk about sexual violence — and nothing exemplifies this reality better than the case against Jeffrey Epstein.

Dozens of Epstein’s victims showed up at a federal courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday to attend a hearing about dismissing the indictment against the late sex offender, who faced two sex trafficking-related charges at the time of his suicide. Much of the coverage was disturbingly — though predictably — indelicate, given the subject.

“He… engaged in sex acts with the girls during naked massage sessions,” the New York Times reported. CNBC described Epstein’s pedophilia as “sexual…


The gap between Epstein and ‘normal’ men who see women’s bodies as their reward isn’t nearly as wide as we like to think

I recently wrote a novel about the impact of childhood sexual abuse. Earlier this week, an interviewer asked me why I don’t call it a novel about “pedophilia.” He also asked why I don’t like to call myself a “victim.” I’ve considered those questions a lot since the Jeffrey Epstein story broke (again) last week.

I keep wanting to call him Jeffrey Dahmer, don’t you? But although this latest monster’s behavior is indeed monstrous, it is not simply the foul act of an individual pedophile (a specific sort of creep we have long considered unspeakably vile) or even a disease…


As long as we allow powerful men to claim access to women’s bodies as their just reward, we may not notice the monsters among us

What kind of monster is Jeffrey Epstein?

The question has become pressing for commentators across the political spectrum. The evidence points to a vast network of sexual exploitation in which some of the most powerful men in the world traded girls’ bodies like party favors. By the time all this is over, many well-known men will be implicated — and quite a lot of people are anxious to shield themselves or their perceived allies from that reckoning. But in trying to pin Epstein’s sins on some partisan “enemy,” we miss the point. The villain here isn’t any one group. It’s…


Jessica Valenti

The wealthy financier may go to jail, but that won’t stop other men from quietly casting doubt on his alleged crimes

It would be nice to imagine that Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire accused of sexually assaulting and trafficking teen girls, will receive swift judgment — not just in court but in public opinion. Here’s a man whose alleged crimes were an open secret for years, a wealthy abuser whose access to power and privilege protected him from being held accountable, even when caught.

After years of writing about feminism, however, I know better. Epstein may go to jail — hopefully minus the sweetheart deal this time — but that won’t stop the quiet defense of his behavior.

Already we’re seeing rumblings…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store