Unfortunately for Bill Gates, Jeffrey Epstein Story is Not Going Away

On May 6, my microphone was cut and I was arrested at the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting with Warren Buffett in the chair. My transgression? I uttered the name of Jeffrey Epstein while citing the reputational risk to the company posed by Buffett’s close identification with Bill Gates. (The ludicrous charge of criminal trespass was soon after dropped.)

Since that time, things have only gotten worse for Gates.

On December 17, the Wall Street Journal published yet another story titled, “Jeffrey Epstein Never Stopped Abusing Women—and His VIP Circle Helped Make It Possible.” The opening paragraph:

In March 2014, Jeffrey Epstein took his private jet to Seattle to visit Bill Gates at his office. Epstein brought along a Polish model he had met a few months earlier. Dressed in a long gray coat, she posed for a photo with the Microsoft co-founder. Epstein took the picture.

Gates is not the only billionaire touched by the Epstein scandal, but he has become the poster child for it, and this is not unfair. Gates had recast himself as a full-time humanitarian so successfully that even Warren Buffett had to jump on board. But when you hold yourself out as humanity’s savior, there’s little room for moral equivocation. People worldwide understand this. That’s why no matter how furiously Gates tries to regain control of his public persona, or how much he spends to do it, he is destined to fail.

The Epstein story is not going away, nor are the problems it creates for Gates. There exist parallel mysteries of the true nature of Epstein’s enterprise, and Gates’ actual relationship with the pedophile.

It is speculated that Epstein was the point man, or at least participated in, an intelligence operation. If this is the case, it might explain a few things, such as the lenient plea deal to which Epstein agreed in 2008 that had approval from the highest levels of the Justice Department. It also guarantees that the questions about Epstein will go on for many years, for the release of documents will be very slow.

Such a guarantee is not essential, however, to public fascination with the case. In the fifth year out from Epstein’s death, look at the response to last week’s release of documents related to a defamation lawsuit by Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell. Consider also a recent interview with Epstein’s brother Mark by Tucker Carlson. Mark Epstein cannot be accused of promoting “conspiracy theories.” He describes the stone wall he has hit in getting information about his brother’s death and poses credible questions about the suicide ruling.

The biggest reason the Epstein case will not go away, however, has nothing to do with its particulars. Instead, it has to do with the power of allegory, and current perceptions of the way the world works. People correctly believe that the rich and powerful get away with great crimes, while the rest of us operate under legal, moral and economic constraints. It’s unlikely this will change anytime soon, ensuring the relevance of the Epstein archetype for a long time.

As for Gates’ true relationship with Epstein, the most favorable interpretation of known events leaves him on the hook. A balanced discussion of this question is contained in a new book by progressive journalist Tim Schwab titled, “The Bill Gates Problem: Reckoning With the Myth of the Good Billionaire.” Schwab asserts that Gates’ explanations of his interactions with Epstein are plagued by “contradiction after contradiction.” He writes:

Bill Gates has an army of people working to keep his reputation sterling and his person free from harm. By the time he met Jeffrey Epstein in the early 2010s, Epstein was a known felon and a registered sex offender — and someone whose misdeeds had been widely profiled in the news media. It was not only unthinkable that Bill Gates did not know exactly what he was doing or who Epstein was, but it is also unreasonable.

Schwab continues:

Melinda French Gates herself publicly stated that she immediately saw Epstein for what he was and made her feelings known to Bill. “I also met Jeffrey Epstein—exactly one time,” she said in a 2022 interview. “Because I wanted to see who this man was. And I regretted it from the second I stepped into the door. He was abhorrent. He was evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards.”

One of the mysteries of the Gates/Epstein relationship first surfaced in a 2019 report that Epstein named Boris Nikolic, one of Gates’ closest associates, as the backup executor of his estate. Nikolic expressed shock and claimed that Epstein sought to “retaliate” against him. But as Schwab points out, “it has never been made clear what Epstein was retaliating against.”

Where does all this leave Buffett? At 93, it’s a little late to redefine his legacy. He’s already hitched it to Gates, dumping tens of billions into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Having me arrested did not solve this problem.




Tags: Berkshire Hathaway, Bill Gates, Jeffrey Epstein, Warren Buffett