Bill Gates’ relationship with Jeffrey Epstein is touched on in the Lifetime documentary Surviving Jeffrey Epstein. Here is what you need to know about their business dealings and what Gates has said about his relationship with the late financier who was charged with sex trafficking and assault.
Gates Alledgedly Gave Money to MIT for Epstein
In the documentary, Signe Swenson from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talked about how after Epstein was released from prison in July 2009, he tried to rehabilitate his image by getting into philanthropy. Some of the wealthy men he reached out to in these efforts included Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk.
Swenson says that at MIT, they wanted no part of Epstein’s donations but they “found a workaround so that his associates would give to MIT anonymously.” She found evidence of a $2 million donation to MIT from Gates that was on Epstein’s behalf. Swenson also said that Epstein came to campus for a tour with two young women who were supposed to be his “assistants,” but they looked more like models and were very young.
“We were concerned that maybe they were being trafficked. My male colleagues just saw what they wanted to see from Jeffrey Epstein. If you were relying on money from him it was very easy to look the other way,” said Swenson.
In a fall 2019 panel hosted by the New York Times, Gates addressed his relationship with Epstein, saying that he was led to believe that meeting Epstein would lead to investments in charities he and his foundation support.
“I made a mistake in judgment in thinking those discussions would go to global health … that money never appeared. And I gave him benefit of my association,” said Gates (via Business Insider).
This admittance came two months after Gates previously told the Wall Street Journal, ” met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him. I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. 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.”
Lifetime Is Partnering With Rise to Run a Special PSA During the Broadcast
Lifetime has partnered with Rise to run a special PSA during the airings of the documentary to encourage other survivors to use their voice to RISE UP and help establish Survivors Bills of Rights in their states. Lifetime will also run a PSA from RAINN to provide hotline resources for those in need.”
In a virtual panel for the event, the executive producer Bob Friedman told reporters that they are telling the survivors’ stories in their own words.
“The story that we’ve told has been pretty much in the survivors’ own words, the survivors who bear this burden of abuse. Abuse that dare we all believe is hidden in plain sight,” said Friedman. “And we think that we go into some of the stories and the reason why with the making of the sex trafficking pyramid scheme, that was recent. We take a look at the recruiting that existed, the grooming of potential victims, and how allegedly Ghislaine Maxwell trained recruiters to create this abuse pipeline that we live through.”
He added that this is not the end of the story, saying, “We all believe that there will be some future revelations. The trial is scheduled to begin in July of next year, but we believe that we’ve addressed many of the questions that have not been addressed in the past.”
Director Ricki Stern added that it was so important to the filmmakers to emphasize to the survivors that this was not your run-of-the-mill news piece.
“It was really important that we spoke to [the survivors] and said to them, ‘This is going to be different than a news piece. We really want to spend time with you and have your story portrayed in your own words.’ There’s so much strength in these women’s stories, in their history, to understand where they come from and where they are today is so powerful,” said Stern. “And that was something that we wanted to make sure that the series portrayed. Lifetime is, of course, the perfect place for this series because they really value and they spotlight the women’s voices. And so, it was a lengthy process … It was a lengthy process to get to women. Because there had been so much attention, quick news stories that were done, that we had to really differentiate the series, because it is four hours told in their voices.”
Surviving Jeffrey Epstein airs Sunday, August 9 and Monday, August 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.