Billionaire Bill Gates regrets his continued meetings with disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, calling it a “huge mistake” in a new interview.
Gates met with Epstein, who died while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking young women, a number of times with a goal of raising money for global health, he told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.
His ex-wife Melinda Gates told CBS’s Gayle King in March that she didn’t like that he was meeting with Epstein, who she described as “abhorrent” and “evil personified,” adding that it was a contributing factor to their divorce, finalized in August 2021.
“I didn’t realize that the meeting with him almost downplayed the incredibly awful things he did,” Gates told Guthrie. “I learned more about that over time but I would add that to the list of big mistakes, including where Melinda’s advice was sound and I should have followed it sooner than I did.”
According to The New York Times, Gates began meeting with Epstein in 2011, after he was convicted of sex crimes in Florida. However, he told The Wall Street Journal in 2019 that he did not have a personal relationship with Epstein.
“There were people around him who were saying, ‘hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people,'” Gates told the Journal at the time. “Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men. I was never at any parties or anything like that.”
Speaking to Guthrie, Gates said: “He was a bad person and I had a reason I thought those meetings would lead to something good, but I shouldn’t have done them.”
The billionaire publicly admitted to it being a “mistake” to CNN’s Anderson Cooper in August 2021 amid fallout from his divorce, including revelations that he had a lengthy affair with a Microsoft employee, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Gates left the board of his company Microsoft in 2020 after the company began investigating him for the affair, as well as other allegations of sexual harassment, according to reports by The New York Times and The Journal. His spokeswoman told the Journal at the time that the matters were not related.
“I caused pain and I feel terrible about that,” Gates told Guthrie about his divorce. “I should be very humble about success. It has a tricky aspect to it, and I don’t have great advice for other people.”
Author: Kelsey Carolan