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Bill Gates: I met with Epstein because “he knows a lot of rich people” (cnbc.com)
51 points by AndrewBissell 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

I sometimes worry that the world of elite money has something akin to a secular version of "The Family"[1] that essentially uses the "King David" excuse on people like Epstein.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fellowship_(Christian_orga... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family:_The_Secret_Fundame... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family_(miniseries)

Why not a strong overlap?

The simplest answer to me is the rampant normalization of celebrity sexual misconduct, especially the more philanthropically-oriented. The tipping point for Bill Cosby wasn't a criminal investigation or tell-all, just Hannibal Burress offhandedly mentioning the (decade old?) claims in a set.

It's confusing to me that we see Bill Gates as a particularly exceptional member of the philanthropic class outside of his extreme wealth. Perhaps the increasing popularity of "Effective Altruism"/Peter Singer's ideas, which align fairly well with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's work. Perhaps it was his ability to avoid scandal.

In this thread, and across the press, there's this ridiculous guilt by association epidemic going around.

So now, if I met Epstein one time at MIT, without knowing his crimes, I'm a pedophile too?

What exactly is Gates being accused of here? Just come out and say it? You guys want him to be a pedophile too so you can tear him down? Gates has done so much good for the world.

If Gates is found to have done something wrong, I'll be the first to call him a scumbag.

Till then, stop hating on him.

Exactly my thoughts. It's obvious that everyone's coming up with excuses to avoid this guilt by association trash.

Unless and until there's evidence that these people were indeed involved in the trafficking and exploitation directly, they haven't done anything wrong. Even the MIT guy was alright in having taken funding from Epstein, where he deserved to lose his job was all the shady stuff he tried to do alongside that.

Strongly agree. And even if Gates did know Epstein was convicted of soliciting an underage prostitute in 2008, is it that wrong for him to take a meeting with him? He’s not becoming friends with the guy, partying with him, or endorsing his behaviour in any way. If Epstein was just a means to an end for Gates, the end being raising money for aome great causes, then I get the choice to meet with him.

For example, if you’re a head of state, diplomat, etc., you’re going to take meetings with guys like Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, or their henchmen. That doesn’t mean you approve of the murders they’ve ordered or the people they’ve oppressed. You’re taking the meeting as a means to an end - maybe it’s the best way to get a trade deal done, so that entrepreneurs in the two countries can buy stuff from each other.

Or a closer to home example - say you’re a sales person trying to sell SaaS software to BigCorp. You have an important sales meeting coming up with a BigCorp employee, you do some research and find out that 5 years ago, he solicited an underage prostitute for sex. Do you cancel the meeting? The odd person might, but most would just take the meeting anyways. You wouldn’t become friends with the guy, but you’d still try to sell some software to the business he represents.

If people have close personal ties to Epstein, investigate them. At the very least it’s morally reprehensible, and if they participated in the sex rings/paedophilia, charge them. But taking the odd business meeting with a bad person is not a big deal on its own IMO.

>If Gates is found to have done something wrong, I'll be the first to call him a scumbag.

I guess people here, and across the press, are asking questions to figure out if he has done anything wrong. Unless you're suggesting that Bill Gates is above and beyond any questioning, the reports sound fair and justified.

>So now, if I met Epstein one time at MIT, without knowing his crimes, I'm a pedophile too?

Can you show me a single instance of the press accusing Gates of pedophilia? They're just asking why the richest man in the world (at the time) needed a convicted sex offender like Epstein to raise money for philanthropy. Do you think it's an unfair question?

Epstein was convicted of soliciting a prostitute and of procuring an underage girl for prostitution in 2008 [see his wikipedia page](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Epstein). There were rumors about him well before that

Bill Gates met with him in 2013. Why did Gates decide to meet with a convicted sex offender and pedophile? I think that, for powerful people, "not setting up meetings with sex offenders" is actually a pretty easy and straightforward ethical bar.

Not everyone is clued into rumors or googling everyone they meet.

Did you just dismissively state that high society is above gossip?

Existentially quantified, no. Universally quantified, yes. (Key: “not everyone”)

Bill Gates is not really typical high society anyways.

I and probably 99.99999% of the world just learned about this a few months ago. How do we expect Gates to know?


The idea Gates was unaware of Epstein's past while arranging million-plus dollar donations with him is adorably naive.

It appears that in the case of Epstein, anyone who knew the criminal is judged by the media as also guilty.

Seems weird and wrong ...

Epstein was convicted of soliciting a prostitute and of procuring an underage girl for prostitution in 2008 [see his wikipedia page](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Epstein). Gates met with him in 2013.

No one's saying that meeting with Epstein was illegal, but I think that most people would avoid schmoozing with convicted pedophile sex offenders. When someone as powerful as Gates meets with someone and helps facilitate donations through them, that supports that person. Why did Gates choose to associate with and support a convicted sex offender and pedophile?

I think these are very very reasonable questions to ask

> Why did Gates choose to associate with and support a convicted sex offender and pedophile?

Do we know Gates was aware of it? If not, do we expect him or his entourage to background check (or at least google) everyone he is going to meet? If yes, then I guess I would want to know as well.

>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.

I like the impression of a clueless Bill Gates with 100 Billion dollars in his hand and having lead one of the most powerful businesses of last century, completely unsure of how to get in touch with other rich people. "Gee Jeffrey, do you think you could help me make some more rich friends to help with good deeds?"

I also feel like that sentence was a bit truncated "he knows a lot of rich people... because he runs a sex island where influential people can get and do anything they want."

Gates's excuses and self-contradictory statements around Epstein have been hilariously bad.

Any story that details tech bigwigs having connections with Jeffrey Epstein gets flagged down here almost instantly. Which is too bad, the sheer volume of these connections indicates there's a conversation to be had here.

I think it might be a reaction to either a) what amounts to the same story with a different name over and over or a reaction to b) a number of stories that seemed to be out for blood against tech.

Epstein had connections to rich and powerful people in tech... And entertainment, and politics, and really all industry.

I think it's just a hard story to keep up with. Too many connections without enough investigation to if those connections are tied to his crimes (yet).

The fact that it gets flagged so quickly makes it even more interesting...

Taking money from a pedophile, going into business with one, endorsing one, securing favors from one, or receiving praise from one is pretty bad. Just meeting one seems significantly less. Not clear what Gates actually did.

> Gates did not immediately respond to questions, submitted through a foundation representative, about why he would need Epstein's help connecting with wealthy people and whether it is typical for his business meetings to include no women.

That was my first thought too: Sir Bill Gates is known by just about anyone in the world, certainly all rich people. He doesn't know them, yet, but of all people in the world, I would expect him to be the last to need someone like Epstein to introduce him.

Why does he even need to ask around for an extra $2 million in the first place? I mean, I get that not all of his $100 billion fortune is entirely liquid at any point in time, but surely this should be doable in pretty short order?

The point is for him to position himself not just as a guy with a fat checkbook, but as a macher (see https://jel.jewish-languages.org/words/325) -- a guy who can make connections, put people together. "I don't think your project is a good fit for my foundation, but let me introduce you to my friend Jeffrey and these four other rich guys who fund projects like yours all the time." So now you still owe him a favor, but without him having to spend a penny.

This is a good point. It seems that BG spends an inordinate amount of time getting money for his foundation, when it doesn't seem even likely that he spent most of his own donated money. Maybe because he doesn't know how to do anything else other than getting more money?

The other issue that one has to wonder is if this process of connecting to other rich people through his foundation is not a side business to the goal of finding investment and personal connections for himself.

Proof that money can't buy everything.

Bill Gates saying he met Epstein because "people around Epstein said he knows a lot of rich people" doesn't prove at all that Bill Gates needed to meet Epstein.

Okay, so how does this make any sense?

>"He never donated any money to anything that I know about.”[...]

>Following the 2013 meeting between the two men, Epstein arranged for a $2 million donation from Gates to the MIT Media Lab, according to a report in The New Yorker. A spokesperson for Gates said in a statement provided to the Journal that “any claim that Epstein directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates is completely false.”

So 5 years after Epstein is officially convicted of soliciting underaged prostitutes Bill Gates pretends as if he doesn't know who Epstein is, and somehow seems clueless of any donations despite having Epstein arrange a 2 million dollar donation, while also being one of the richest and most well connected people on the planet? These people cannot be serious.

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