Epstein Aftershocks & A Gates Divorce Deadline

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

For Bill Gates, there is never a good time for Jeffrey Epstein to be in the news, but not now, please. After all, it has been just about two years since Bill and Melinda French Gates tweeted that they were getting divorced, a carefully choreographed and highly lawyered decoupling that proceeded with all the drama of an 8-K filing. The split sent shockwaves through the cloistered world of big-money philanthropy, where the Gateses still preside over a $50 billion foundation. Literally millions of people around the globe depend on their largesse.

It was with that grave responsibility that the Gates Foundation announced on July 7, 2021, that America’s most powerful philanthropic couple had pledged to strive to continue working together. But, the statement continued, if their partnership proved too awkward after two years, Melinda could resign as a co-chair and trustee of the Foundation, and receive some unidentified amount of “personal resources” to pursue her own philanthropic work elsewhere. Notably, according to the plan, the dissolution can be triggered by either party.

Of course, it hasn’t gone unnoticed in Gates World that we are now just over one month away from that two-year anniversary. Especially now that Epstein, allegedly the proximate cause of Bill and Melinda’s breakup, is back in the news. The Wall Street Journal has been all over the Gates-Epstein connection lately—reporting on Epstein threatening Gates over an affair, and days during which Gates and Epstein allegedly roamed New York, inseparable—and every new disclosure seems to confirm that Melinda was correct to be concerned about both her husband’s infidelity and his associations with a convicted sex offender. (Bill has said spending any time with Epstein was a mistake.) In other words: If Melinda is looking for an excuse to pull the ripcord and start anew, she has one.