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3 May, 2022 18:21

Bill Gates: ‘I caused pain’

Billionaire responds to allegations of cheating on his then-wife and meeting repeatedly with Jeffrey Epstein
Bill Gates: ‘I caused pain’

One year on from announcing his divorce, billionaire Bill Gates has responded to accusations that he was unfaithful to his then-wife, acknowledging that he’s to blame for “causing a lot of pain to my family.”

“I certainly made mistakes, and I take responsibility,” Gates said on Tuesday in an NBC News interview. Pressed by ‘Today’ show host Savannah Guthrie about allegations that multiple affairs contributed to the breakup of his 27-year marriage to Melinda Gates, he said, “I don’t think delving into the particulars at this point is constructive, but yes, I caused pain, and I feel terrible about that.”

The 66-year-old Microsoft co-founder and vaccine promoter emphasized that he and his ex-wife continue to work together on their philanthropic foundation, but he said the divorce was “sad and tragic.” Asked what he learned through the experience, Gates paused awkwardly, then said his expertise is about such topics as climate change and health care. On personal matters, he added, “I don’t have great advice for other people.”

Asked about the difficulty of watching a CBS News interview his ex-wife did last month – in which she described “lying on the floor crying” at times during her marriage – Gates said, “This was a very tough thing. We had a lot of amazing things in our marriage. The kids, the foundation, the enjoyment we had. And so it's a very hard adjustment. I know divorces are different, but it's just a complete change. We were partners, we kind of grew up together, and now that's different. We're not married.”

During the CBS interview, Melinda Gates said her then-husband’s relationship with financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was one of the reasons for the divorce. Bill Gates called his decision to meet with Epstein multiple times a “huge mistake,” adding, “I had a goal of raising money for global health. I didn’t realize that the meeting with him almost downplayed the incredibly awful things he did. I learned more about that over time, but I 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.”

Epstein died in a New York jail cell in August 2019, allegedly by suicide, while awaiting trial on charges of child sex trafficking. Asked whether he ever saw anything with Epstein that made him think, “this doesn’t feel right,” Gates replied, “He was a bad person, and I had a reason that I thought those meetings would lead to something good, but I shouldn’t have done them.”

Gates did the interview to promote his new book, titled ‘How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.’ He blamed “misinformation” for killing Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic and said it was hard to understand why he was targeted with “conspiracy theories” after supporting vaccines that saved lives.

Guthrie suggested that billionaire Elon Musk’s pending acquisition of Twitter – and plans to restore freedom of speech on the social media platform – might give cause for greater concern about misinformation. Asked whether he worries about Musk, Gates said, “You wouldn’t want to underestimate Elon. What he did at Tesla is amazing, helping with climate change, what he did at SpaceX.”

“You know, will he, this time, make that improvement? Should there be laws that strike a better balance of free speech versus conspiracy theories confusing people? Elon thinks he can improve Twitter. I don’t know specifically what he’ll do, but there’s an opportunity, and we need innovation in that space.”