New reports revealed that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been hanging out with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The Daily Beast reported that based entirely on unnamed sources, claims that Epstein offered Gates advice about getting out of his marriage with his wife, Melinda. The couple announced earlier this month they were divorcing.
The report claimed that Gates told Epstein his marriage was “toxic.”
Gates used the gatherings at Epstein’s $77 million New York townhouse as an escape from what he told Epstein was a “toxic” marriage, a topic both men found humorous, a person who attended the meetings told The Daily Beast.
The billionaire met Epstein dozens of times starting in 2011 and continuing through to 2014 mostly at the financier’s Manhattan home—a substantially higher number than has been previously reported. Their conversations took place years before Bill and Melinda Gates announced this month that they were splitting up.
Gates, in turn, encouraged Epstein to rehabilitate his image in the media following his 2008 guilty plea for soliciting a minor for prostitution and discussed Epstein becoming involved with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Gates found freedom in Epstein’s lair, where he met a rotating cast of bold-faced names and discussed worldly issues in between rounds of jokes and gossip,” the report said, calling it a “‘men’s club’ atmosphere that irritated Melinda.”
“‘[It’s] not an overstatement. Going to Jeffrey’s was a respite from his marriage. It was a way of getting away from Melinda,” the report quoted a source who it said was “one of the people who was at several of the meetings” as saying. The source called Epstein and Gates “very close.”
The Daily Beast reported that Melinda Gates disliked Epstein and that her opposition to her husband meeting with Epstein eventually ended the two men’s connection.
A statement from a Gates spokesperson poured cold water on the report.
“Your characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated. Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda disparagingly is false,” the statement said.
“Bill never received or solicited personal advice of any kind from Epstein — on marriage or anything else. Bill never complained about Melinda or his marriage to Epstein.”
An unnamed source for the report in The Daily Beast theorized that Gates attended the events because he “enjoys talking and ideas and arguing with people, and he can be a really brutal person to argue with.”
“He likes nothing better than to get together and debate or lecture people or tell everyone what he’s doing with the polio vaccine. He has the ability, unlike any other person I’ve ever met, to lecture to a table of people without stopping for an hour.
“Anyone that gave him a stage for a performance and said, ‘Bill, come talk to us about what you’re passionate about,’ that would be something he would enjoy.”
An ex-employee revealed that Melinda seemed to have a chip on her shoulder because “no one did see her as an equal to Bill” and her work didn’t get as much media attention. “It irritated her that people were more into Bill,” they said.
A former employee also told The Daily Beast that Epstein was a topic of conversation among staff even in 2017—three years after the men’s friendship reportedly fizzled—because of concerns that Gates’ previous ties to Epstein could harm his reputation.