On September 20, Netflix is set to release a three-part documentary on Bill Gates called Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. From the trailer, it appears to be a full-access look at one of the world’s richest men and his evolution from ruthless businessman to putting his cognitive powers toward solving world problems such as climate change and disease.
But with Gates now part of the ongoing revelations of the rich and powerful people and institutions who maintained their relationships with Jeffrey Epstein even after his 2008 felony conviction for soliciting an underage prostitute, should Netflix still take us inside Bill’s brain?
Late Friday night, Ronan Farrow published an exposé in The New Yorker chronicling the MIT Media Lab’s acceptance of money from recently deceased sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and its efforts to cover up that it was taking donations from a convicted pedophile. One of the more notable revelations in the story is that Epstein helped direct donations from Bill Gates:
Perhaps most notably, Epstein appeared to serve as an intermediary between the lab and other wealthy donors, soliciting millions of dollars in donations from individuals and organizations, including the technologist and philanthropist Bill Gates and the investor Leon Black. According to the records obtained by The New Yorker and accounts from current and former faculty and staff of the media lab, Epstein was credited with securing at least $7.5 million in donations for the lab, including two million dollars from Gates and $5.5 million from Black, gifts the e-mails describe as “directed” by Epstein or made at his behest.
Gates had become part of the discourse surrounding the Epstein story last month when it was revealed that Gates had met with Epstein in 2013, five years after Epstein’s conviction. Gates’s name also appears on the flight logs for Epstein’s private plane, which had been dubbed the Lolita Express. In response to those stories, a spokesperson for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told the Daily Mail that Gates did not have any financial or philanthropic connection to Epstein.
This new New Yorker story appears to contradict that statement, and all of it leads one to wonder whether Netflix will stick with releasing what does largely appear to be a laudatory documentary. How can one watch this story about how the technologist and philanthropist thinks and how remarkable it is when the evidence suggests he at least committed one grievous error in judgment in associating with Epstein? Although pulling the three-part series could end up calling more attention to Gates’s relationship with Epstein, what possible benefit could there be for either Gates or Netflix in keeping it in its library?
I have reached out to Netflix to ask what it plans to do about Inside Bill’s Brain, but I have yet to receive a response. I have also reached out to Gates seeking comment and whether he will ask Netflix not to release this series. I will update this piece if and when either replies.