The Edge Foundation runs what has been referred to as the “world’s smartest website” and held annual “billionaires’ dinners.” It was additionally financed by Jeffrey Epstein and gave him entry to elite circles in science and tech.
As BuzzFeed News and others have investigated Jeffrey Epstein’s
connections to leaders in science and expertise within the wake of his July
arrest on sex trafficking charges, one identify has stood out as Epstein’s intellectual enabler: John Brockman, the New York literary agent who ran Edge, billed as an elite salon of thinkers “redefining who and what we are.”
Yet Brockman’s connections to Epstein ran deeper than have been beforehand disclosed. In reality, in line with a BuzzFeed News evaluate of Edge’s IRS filings, the nonprofit’s full vary of unique occasions wouldn’t have been doable with out Epstein’s largesse. Indeed, after Epstein made his ultimate recorded donation to Edge in 2015, the group stopped internet hosting the annual “billionaires’ dinner” that was as soon as the spotlight of its calendar.
Epstein, who killed himself in federal custody in August, wasn’t merely related to Edge. He was by far its largest monetary donor, and his affiliation with Edge gave him entry to main scientists and figures within the tech industry.
While he was bankrolling Edge, Epstein attended its occasions. So, too, within the early 2000s did Sarah Kellen, who’s alleged to have helped organize Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage women. In images which have been just lately faraway from the Edge web site, Kellen was pictured on the 2002 billionaires’ dinner with Brockman, and at a 2003 event with Brockman’s son, Max.
Brockman didn’t reply to requests for remark from BuzzFeed News.
Brockman emerged from the New York artwork scene of the 1960s, selling underground cinema and rubbing shoulders with heavyweights like Andy Warhol. Later, he grew to become the main agent for authors writing books on science and expertise, with a repute for negotiating huge advances for his purchasers. But Brockman’s specific cachet got here from his position, performed via his nonprofit, Edge, as a self-styled “cultural impresario.”
Until 2018, Brockman requested an annual question of Edge contributors, a gaggle comprising authors he represented and different luminaries in science and expertise. Their responses to questions resembling “What is your dangerous idea?” and “What will change all the pieces?” had been revealed on what the Guardian dubbed “the world’s smartest website” and packaged into books. Brockman relished his position as facilitator, sending emails with a sign-off quote: “John Brockman is the shadowy determine on the prime of the cyberfashion meals chain.”
Edge was additionally largely a boys membership — 80% of the greater than 900 folks at present listed on its web site as contributors are male.
BuzzFeed News analyzed the Edge Foundation’s IRS filings from 2001 to 2017, published at ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer. As reported by considered one of Brockman’s former purchasers, Evgeny Morozov, who writes about the political and social implications of expertise, foundations related to Epstein supplied $638,000 out of a complete of virtually $857,000 obtained by Edge over this era.
These donations weren’t Edge’s solely supply of earnings: An entry marked “book contract,” which seems from 2005 onward, accounts for a complete of about $1.48 million in earnings. Income from publishing Edge books would have coated the inspiration’s fundamental working prices; working the web site, skilled charges, depreciation, and different bills totaled about $1.27 million from 2001 to 2017. But it couldn’t cowl the extra $706,000 that Edge spent over that interval on “journey, conferences, and conferences.”
Epstein was a daily attendee at Edge occasions. He was proven on the 1999 and 2000 billionaires’ dinners, in images on pages which have just lately been deleted from the Edge web site, and was additionally mentioned in a write-up of the 2004 dinner. Epstein was additionally current at Edge occasions in 2011, after his 2008 conviction for intercourse crimes, BuzzFeed News reported earlier this month.