The Relationship Between Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein: The Broadsheet

Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP) (PJEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! MoMA will reopen with more female artists than ever before, vague feedback holds women back at work, and an investigation reveals more about the relationship between Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein. Have a mindful Monday. 


- Gates and Epstein. As Bill Gates' name has come up in connection with Jeffrey Epstein's over the past few months (see: MIT Media Lab), the Microsoft founder has denied a close relationship with the late convicted sex offender. “I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” Gates told The Wall Street Journal last month.

But an investigation by the New York Times reveals a closer relationship between the two men. Starting in 2011, Gates met with Epstein several times, including three times at Epstein's townhouse in New York. As the Times puts it: 

"Mr. Gates and the $51 billion [Bill & Melinda] Gates Foundation have championed the well-being of young girls. By the time Mr. Gates and Mr. Epstein first met, Mr. Epstein had served jail time for soliciting prostitution from a minor and was required to register as a sex offender."

The meetings between the pair centered around philanthropy. At one point Epstein proposed creating a new charitable fund involving the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan (Epstein hoped to get a fee for securing donations to the effort). The men connected in part through Gates Foundation employee Melanie Walker, who had met Epstein when she was just out of college. 

The Times investigation goes into further detail about the relationship and is worth the read. Gates' spokeswoman says that the billionaire "regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so." She adds that "entertaining Epstein’s ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates’ personal values and the values of his foundation."

Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest people on the planet—and has devoted much of that wealth to bettering the world, including improving the lives of women and girls. The fact that he was willing to overlook Epstein's criminal role in hurting girls doesn't erase the good Gates has done—but nor does that good excuse his blindness.

Epstein's story, and the many powerful people whose names have become entangled in it, suggests that a sort of bubble exists around the world of wealth and privilege, where it seems impossible to imagine that anyone inside that shiny barrier could really have done anything all that bad. But now we're seeing what happens when the bubble pops—and it's not a pretty sight.

Emma Hinchliffe


- New and improved. New York's Museum of Modern Art closed for several months for a $450 million renovation. When it reopens this month, MoMA will have quintupled the percentage of works by female artists in its halls. Hilma af Klint, Gabriele Münter, and Mrinalini Mukherjee are among the artists who will soon be on display. Wall Street Journal

- Ingredient information. More from New York: the state became the first in the country to require makers of menstrual products to clearly list the ingredients in their pads and tampons. Since menstrual products are classified as medical devices, companies are not federally required to list ingredients. CBS News

- Criticizing constructive criticism. To advance at work, employees need to be told how to improve. But new research finds that men tend to receive actionable, specific feedback connected to business outcomes while women hear "vague, personality-based feedback." Wall Street Journal

- Tag, you're it. Asset manager PIMCO has been sued for gender discrimination (and not for the first time). Senior counsel Andrea Martin Inokon alleges that she was passed over for promotions because she was pregnant and that the firm "tags" certain women as choosing their families over work, a designation that results in fewer opportunities and less pay. PIMCO denies the allegations. Institutional Investor


- No longer suffering in silence. Miscarriage is common—15% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, as many as hundreds of thousands in the United States every year—but it's rarely talked about. In this feature, more than 20 women share their stories. New York Times

- Open seat. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who leads the House Appropriations Committee, announced last week that she would retire. Now, the NYT speculates, could Chelsea Clinton pursue the open seat? New York Times

- Third generation. When protests in Sudan led to the arrest of President Omar al-Bashir this year, young women were at the forefront of the movements. Here, the story of a family where three generations of women have fought to overthrow dictators over the past 50 years: BuzzFeed

- Life Undercover. Former CIA officer Amaryllis Fox has a book coming out this week documenting her time undercover, from her baby sensing "something is off" to communicating via Starbucks gift card. The memoir—described as if "a John le Carré character landed in Eat Pray Love”—is being adapted into an Apple TV show starring Brie Larson. New York Times

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"They still have the torch, but the grandmas are taking it now and continuing it."

-Jane Fonda on why she is moving temporarily to D.C. to protest inaction on climate change alongside student movements. Fonda was arrested on the Capitol steps Friday.

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