Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has strenuously denied that all those times he hung out with notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein—you know, the guy with the private jet and island compound who died in prison in 2019 before he could testify about who else was involved in his child sex abuse ring—was about anything other than milking the billionaire’s coffers for charity.
Despite Gates’ insistence that he was not friends with Epstein, it emerged via the New York Times that Gates had hung out with Epstein on “numerous occasions” despite Epstein’s 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor in Florida being one of the most well-known facts about him. The Times wrote the hangouts included “at least three times at Mr. Epstein’s palatial Manhattan townhouse, and at least once staying late into the night.” Gates even penned a suspicious email to a staffer at his private foundation stating Epstein’s “lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me.” The meetings, which started in 2011 and included one time Gates flew with Epstein on his jet, apparently disturbed others with better judgment, including his soon-to-be ex-spouse Melinda Gates.
According to a report in the Daily Beast, associates of the Gates family say Melinda accurately read Epstein for filth and was furious with her husband for chumming around with him. The issue came to a head after a previously unreported meeting between Gates and the pedophilic billionaire “at Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion in September 2013, on the same day the couple accepted the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award at The Pierre hotel and were photographed alongside then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg.” Friends of the family told the site Bill’s cavorting with Epstein “still haunts Melinda”.
Bill and Melinda announced their impending divorce earlier this week after 27 years of marriage. There’s no indication in the Beast report that the Epstein connection was a specific factor in the split, though one could guess it probably didn’t help. In divorce filings, Melinda wrote their marriage was “irretrievably broken” and that they had already separated.
One person who attended many of the same events as Epstein, including a TED conference in California, told the site they absolutely suspected something was very off about the billionaire and it was easy to see why Melinda would be put off by him:
“I can’t make the claim that so many are claiming,” the person told The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity, referring to people in Epstein’s orbit who’ve said they had no suspicions of Epstein’s abuse. “If you ask Bill Gates, he’ll say, ‘Oh I had absolutely no idea he wasn’t up to anything of the highest moral character.’ But I seriously doubted Epstein’s moral character.”
“The people around him,” the person added, referring to Epstein, “had a varying spectrum of what they knew and what they didn’t know and how they rationalized it.”
This person wasn’t surprised that Melinda Gates was put off by Epstein, saying “a lot of people were uncomfortable with Epstein, completely independent of his” sexual misconduct. “He just was an obnoxious guy. He almost made a point of having bad manners, not paying attention at dinner… I could see how anybody, even without suspicions, would not want to be around him.”
The relationship between Bill and Epstein seems to have faded in 2014 when Gates gave a now-infamous $2 million donation to the MIT Media Lab that its then-director Joichi Ito claimed was facilitated by Epstein. (Spokespeople for Gates have denied Epstein “directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates”; Ito resigned in disgrace in September 2019 after the full extent of his financial relationship with Epstein became public knowledge.) Around that time he began complaining to friends that the then-Microsoft chairman wasn’t returning his phone calls, according to the Beast.
However, Epstein was a prolific social climber who enjoyed surrounding himself with prominent figures in tech and science—perhaps in part because a circle of rich friends and associates might come in handy at deflecting any attention from his ongoing crimes. The Beast report noted a number of Gates and Microsoft associates also had ties with Epstein, including former Gates Foundation staffer and Epstein science adviser Melanie Walker, biotech investor and former Gates adviser Boris Nikolic, former Microsoft vice president Linda Stone, and former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold.
Spokespeople for Gates have insisted that the email in which he referred to Epstein’s intriguing lifestyle was “referring only to the unique decor” of Epstein’s residence, which is fair but sort of like a deflection, and “Epstein’s habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates,” which is perhaps not as reassuring as those spokespeople think.
Gates has been up to a lot more than denying he was ever friends with Epstein lately, such as impeding global access to coronavirus vaccines by using his Covid-19 ACT-Accelerator (a foundation intended to organize the research, manufacturing, and distribution of vaccines) to relentlessly push to preserve pharmaceutical companies’ intellectual property rights. He took the L there too. Amid intense global criticism that IP concerns were slowing down the production and distribution of vaccines across the world, Joe Biden’s administration announced this week it will negotiate with the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive patent rights to coronavirus vaccines.