At Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2011, from left: James E. Staley, at the time a senior JPMorgan executive; former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers; Mr. Epstein; Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder; and Boris Nikolic, who was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s science adviser. via NYT
Bill Gates held court during an online chat in which he invited Reddit users to “ask me anything” on Wednesday — only to ignore questions about his ties to the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, fielded questions during a Reddit “AMA” in which he opined on his favorite rock band (U2), the need to combat climate change, taxation of the wealthy, his ownership of US farmland and which television shows he enjoyed the most in 2022.
But he wouldn’t touch the hot-button question of his prior relationship with Epstein, the wealthy financier who hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting federal trial on sex trafficking charges in 2019.
“Why did you continue associating with Jeffrey Epstein after he was convicted of being a pedo?” a Redditor who goes by the handle “alwayshazthelinks” wrote to Gates.
“And against your then-wife’s advice and wishes?”
The reference was to Epstein’s prior conviction in 2008 when he admitted in a Florida court to procuring a child for prostitution and soliciting a prostitute.
The questioner then posted a link to an article with the headline: “Bill Gates’ Ex-Wife Melinda Says His Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein Hurt Marriage.”
The Reddit user then posed a follow-up question: “Why did you funnel donations through Epstein as opposed to publicly donating via your well-known ‘philanthropic’ foundation?
Last March, Melinda French Gates told Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” that it was “not one thing but many things” that led to the end of her 27-year marriage to Gates. The divorce was finalized in August 2021.
“I did not like that he had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein, no,” Melinda French Gates said.
“I made that clear to him.”
She told King that she met Epstein “exactly one time” because she “wanted to see who this man was.”
“I regretted it the second I walked in the door,” Melinda French Gates told “CBS This Morning.”
“He was abhorrent. He was evil personified. My heart breaks for these women.”
Bill Gates provided a statement to CBS which read: “Meeting with Epstein was a mistake that I regret deeply. It was a substantial error in judgment.”
Mr. Gates in 2012 with Mr. Nikolic. The two men frequently traveled and socialized together. Mr. Nikolic befriended Mr. Epstein after Ms. Walker introduced them.Credit…Paul Morigi. Via NYT
Bill Gates, 67, has admitted to having “several dinners” with Epstein in the early 2010s.
He said this past May that the meetings were part of efforts to raise money for the Gates Foundation.
“At the time, I didn’t realize that by having those meetings it would be seen as giving him credibility. You’re almost saying, ‘I forgive that type of behavior,’ or something,” Bill Gates told The Times in the UK.
“So clearly the way it’s seen, I made a huge mistake not understanding that.”
Bill Gates said Epstein had purported to have ties with potential donors for the Gates Foundation’s global health initiatives. But Gates said the dinners “didn’t result in what he purported, and I cut them off.”
In September 2021, Gates squirmed and played with his ring finger when “PBS Newshour” host Judy Woodruff grilled him about his dealings with Epstein.
Woodruff asked Gates about having “had a number of meetings” with Epstein after the latter had already been “found guilty of soliciting prostitution from minors.”
“You know, I had dinners with him,” Gates replied, fiddling nervously with his hands and pulling on the ring finger on his left hand.
“I regret doing that,” Gates said. [Reddit, NYT, NYP]