Bill Gates said that spending time with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was “a huge mistake” in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The interview covered Gates’ relationship with Epstein, which he says was an attempt to get “billions for philanthropy,” as well as Gates’ alleged workplace misbehavior at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gates’ story regarding his relationship with Epstein hasn’t changed much since their meetings came to light. In 2019, he told The Wall Street Journal that he had met Epstein, but “didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him.” A month later, The New York Times quoted a spokesperson for Gates, who said that Gates “regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so.” The statement, and further comments from the spokesperson in the article, mention the same promises of charitable donations from Epstein that Gates talks about in his CNN interview.
The Times story, however, reports that the two men met many times, and it details meetings that reportedly happened between Gates Foundation employees and Epstein that were centered on fundraising. In the CNN interview, Gates admits that the “several” meetings he had with Epstein (which took place after Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor) gave Epstein credibility, which he again called a mistake.
When asked if he had any regrets about an affair with a Microsoft employee, which was investigated by the Microsoft board, Gates said that everyone has regrets but that he needed to “go forward” with his work.
Melinda French Gates, whose divorce from Bill Gates was recently finalized, reportedly objected to him meeting Epstein. Melinda and Bill will continue to work together to run their charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but the foundation has announced that Melinda could leave after two years if she and Bill can no longer work together.