And that’s what we call awkward…Bill Gates was again pressed on his ties to Jeffrey Epstein in an awkward exchange on Australian television ABC 7.30.
Gates and Epstein, the powerful financier who was accused of child sex trafficking before dying, of an apparent suicide, in a New York City jail cell while awaiting trial, had met numerous times beginning in 2011, according to a New York Times report. But Gates said he only had dinners with him for potential philanthropic opportunities.
Epstein plead guilty to two state prostitution charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 – well before Gates’ meetings with him.
Here’s the transcript provided by the Western Journal during the awkward conversation about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein:
“Do you regret the relationship that you maintained with him against Melinda’s advice and wishes?” interviewer Sarah Ferguson asked, referring to the software billionaire’s former wife.
“You’re going way back in time,” Gates said in response.
“I will say for the over a 100th time, yeah, I shouldn’t have had dinners with him,” Gates said.
“Epstein had a way of sexually compromising people. Is that what Melinda was warning you about?” Ferguson asked.
“No, I mean, it’s — no, I had dinner with him and that’s all,” Gates said.
Asked if he regretted the relationship, the Microsoft co-founder replied, “That I had dinner with him.”
When asked about a connection between Epstein and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates said, “There never was any relationship of any kind.”
Of course, given the history, folks online reacted to the interview with disbelief:
NEW: Bill Gates says he only ever had dinner with Jeffrey Epstein.
Who else doesn’t believe him?
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) January 30, 2023
Bill Gates just said he had dinner with Jeffrey Epstein and “that’s all.” His wife left him for just dinners? Nobody believes that.
— Pamela Hensley (@PamelaHensley22) January 31, 2023
Every time someone mentions Jeffrey Epstein to Bill Gates, his brain starts functioning like it’s Windows 95. pic.twitter.com/45ZJ5SXxLD
— Samé (@somalinomad21) January 31, 2023
Back in May 2021, the Daily Beast reported that Gates and Epstein met often between 2011 and 2014, yet now, he is denying that fact.
Meanwhile, when Judy Woodruff of PBS interviewed Gates, she honed in on the relationship wondering what a billionaire could have wanted from a man who, at the time they met, had been convicted of soliciting prostitution from minors.
“You know, I had dinners with him. I regret doing that,” Gates said. “He had relationships with people he said, you know, would give to global health, which is an interest I have. … Not nearly enough philanthropy goes in that direction.+
“You know, those meetings were a mistake. They didn’t result in what he purported, and I cut them off. You know, that goes back a long time ago now. There’s, you know, so there’s nothing new on that.”
According to Western Journal, Woodruff said that the two met over several years as Gates shook his head at the comment. She then asked what he did when he learned about Epstein’s background.
WATCH: @JudyWoodruff asks Bill Gates about his meetings with Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago, after Epstein had already been convicted of sex crimes.
“Those meetings were a mistake,” Gates says. “They didn’t result in what he purported and I cut them off.” pic.twitter.com/7gg9osnzpu
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) September 21, 2021
“Well, it’s, you know, I’ve said I regretted having those dinners, and there’s nothing, absolutely nothing new on that,” Gates said.
“Is there a lesson for you, for anyone else looking at this?” Woodruff then asked.
“Well, he’s dead, so, you know, in general, you always have to be careful,” Gates responded.
In an interview with CBS Mornings the next year, Melinda Gates said she had made it clear she did not like the meetings her ex-husband had with Epstein, describing him as “evil personified”.