Bill Gates Says Epstein Relationship Was ‘a Huge Mistake’
In an interview on CNN on Wednesday night, Bill Gates admitted that his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was “a huge mistake,” and he told host Anderson Cooper that his divorce, which became final this week, was “definitely a very sad stage.
The New York Times reported in 2019 of Mr. Gates’ relationship with Mr. Epstein, which began after Mr. Epstein was convicted of sex crimes. The two have met numerous times since 2011 – including at least three times at Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, The Times reported, citing interviews with more than a dozen people and related documents.
“His lifestyle is very different and quite intriguing, although it wouldn’t work for me,” Gates wrote to his colleagues in 2011, after they first met. A spokeswoman for Mr Gates told The Times he “was only referring to the unique decor of the Epstein Residence – and Epstein’s habit of spontaneously making Mr Gates meet.”
On Mr. Cooper’s show, Mr Gates said: “I have dined with him on several occasions, hoping that what he said about raising billions in global health philanthropy, through the contacts he had, might emerge. When it seemed like it wasn’t a real thing, that relationship ended. But it was a huge mistake to spend time with him, to give him the credibility to be there.
He added: “You know there were a lot of others in the same situation, but I made a mistake.”
Mr Cooper asked Mr Gates about another Times article, which this year reported on his wife’s concerns about her behavior at work. In 2018, before their divorce, Melinda French Gates spoke about her husband’s relationship with Mr. Epstein and a harassment complaint against his fund manager. On at least a few occasions, Mr. Gates has sued women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the report.
When asked on Wednesday if he had any regrets, Mr Gates replied: “Sure, everyone has.” He later added: “Within the family, we will heal as best we can and learn from what happened.”
Mr. Gates, the founder of Microsoft, has an estimated net worth of $ 130 billion, and the Gates Foundation now has an endowment of $ 65 billion, by most metrics, making it the largest foundation private charity in the world. Mr. Gates and Ms. French Gates pledged to continue working at the foundation on issues such as global health, poverty reduction and gender equality.
“We communicate and work at the foundation, so this partnership, we will try to continue it,” Mr. Gates told CNN. “Melinda has incredible strengths that she brings to help the foundation be better. We have always enjoyed our work together. We can both work with leaders and help build the organization. It would certainly be the best thing for the foundation.
During much of the interview, Mr. Anderson asked Mr. Gates about his views on the state of the pandemic. Mr Gates praised the effectiveness and mass production of the Covid-19 vaccines, but expressed concern about the ease with which the Delta variant of the coronavirus can be spread.
“We wanted to be closer to the end than we are,” he said, “but the very bad news from Delta.”
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