Bill Gates is currently on a media tour to talk about his billion dollar clean energy partnership with big companies. But after countless softball interviews on various television networks, Gates clearly wasn’t ready to be asked about sensitive topics when he sat down for an interview with PBS on Tuesday night. Gates was asked about his encounters with the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the Microsoft billionaire seemed extremely uncomfortable, to say the least.
The New York Times was the first media to reveal in 2019 Gates had met Jeffrey Epstein in 2011, just a few years after his first conviction for soliciting prostitution from underage girls in 2008. But we have since learned from the Daily beast that Gates would have met Epstein “dozens of times” between 2011 and 2014.
PBS Newshour host Judy Woodruff actually spent a full 10 minutes discussing other issues with Gates before asking the fourth richest person in the world about her relationship with Epstein. And Gates obviously didn’t expect to be asked about the convicted pedophile, who allegedly committed suicide in a New York prison in 2019, although many believe he was murdered by powerful people who wanted to silence him.
“I also want to ask you another question in the public arena, it was reported at the time, that you had a number of meetings with Jeffrey Epstein – who when you met him ten years ago , he was found guilty of soliciting the prostitution of minors, ”Woodruff said in the preamble to his question to Gates on Tuesday night’s show.
“What did you know about him when you met him, as you said yourself, in the hope of raising funds?” Woodruff asked.
“You know, I had dinner with him… I wish I did that…” Gates stammered as he was clearly taken aback.
“He had connections with, ahhh, people that he said, you know, they would donate to global health, which is an interest that I have,” Gates continued.
“You know, philanthropy is far from sufficient in this direction. Uh, you know, those meetings were a mistake. They didn’t come up with what he claimed, and I cut him off, ”Gates said. “You know this goes back a long time now. It’s just … so there’s nothing new about it.
How long ago are these meetings, which Gates says go back to “a long time ago now”? As the Daily beast reported, Gates met Epstein as recently as 2014, which Gates did not verbally deny. In 2013, Gates even traveled on Epstein private plane, which has been dubbed the Lolita Express, something Gates never commented on. Melinda Gates is said to have filed for divorce from Bill at least in part because of Bill’s relationship with the known pedophile.
“It was reported that you continued to meet him for several years, and that in other words a number of meetings,” Woodruff continued as Gates began to make faces.
The billionaire shakes his head and his eyes drop very briefly to his right, where you can imagine Gates looking at an assistant and wondering why this question was asked of him. Gates appears to be shaking his head in response to Woodruff saying that Gates met Epstein for several years, but he never verbalized this disagreement.
“What did you do when you found out about his past?” Woodruff continued.
“Well, you know, I said I wished I had these dinners, uh, and there’s nothing… there’s absolutely nothing new about it,” Gates said, looking more and more irritated.
“Is there a lesson for you … for someone else watching this?” Woodruff asked.
“Well he’s dead so, uh, in general you still have to be careful,” Gates said coldly before realizing how odd that sounds.
“And, you know, I’m very proud of what we’ve done in philanthropy. Very proud of the work of the [Bill and Melinda Gates] Foundation, you know. It’s what I get up to every day and focus on, ”Gates said.
No written transcript of last night’s exchange really does the interview justice. You have to see the video to see Gates squirm so uncomfortably.
There are still many, many unanswered questions about Jeffrey Epstein’s relationship with Bill Gates, something we may never see resolved. Even the most basic question of how many times Gates met Epstein has not yet been nailed.
Woodruff’s interview style should be a lesson to other media reporters Gates considers friendly, such as CNBC, who hardly ever ask the billionaire a penetrating question. You can always play softball at the start of the interview and let Gates say what he wants to say. But in the end, you should definitely ask what needs to be asked for.
Gates clearly wants to put the Epstein saga behind him so he can garner praise for being a “good” billionaire who gives money to worthy causes. Journalists should never let go of the matter until Gates has filled in some of the loopholes, like, again, the most fundamental question of how many times Gates has met Epstein. Then we can move on to the question of what Gates was doing in the Lolita Express.