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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Opinion

Bill Gates has always been problematic


Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

Recently it has come out that beloved businessman and billionaire, Bill Gates, has ties to Jeffrey Epstein, American financier and convicted sex offender, who was arrested on charges of sex trafficking in 2019 before his suicide shortly after.

Gates’s image as the humble rich man has popped, shocking many people.

Bill Gates deserves the criticism he’s receiving, as he’s been problematic for a long time. He is another example of why people should not revere the wealthy. There is often something darker going on in order to keep their wealth and status.

Apparently, Bill Gates met with Epstein many times, starting three years after his conviction of soliciting prostitution from a minor. So Gates already knew Epstein was a predator but still worked with him. A former employee said that Bill hoped that Epstein’s connections could help him win a Nobel Prize.

Bill Gates exhibited a lot of inappropriate behavior towards female Microsoft and Gates Foundation employees, asking them to intimate dinners initiating relationships with them. It’s extremely inappropriate for the CEO to pursue employees, as the power difference makes it unfair. He did all of this while married to Melinda Gates.

Bill Gates has supported a lot of public health efforts through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation making him an influential figure in public health. However, he doesn’t always have the public’s health in mind.

Gates doesn’t support the patent waiver to COVID-19 vaccines which would allow other countries to produce vaccines. Allowing countries to produce their own vaccines can help them stop the virus in their country, which is something that countries like India need right now. Gates instead wants companies like Pfizer and Moderna to have the exclusive rights to these necessary vaccines. 

He has always spoke in favor of pharmaceutical companies hoarding vaccine rights. During the AIDS crisis in South Africa in 1999, his foundation invested in initiatives to preserve vaccine rights for private companies. He has continued this attempt to keep vaccine rights private during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

His foundation tries to convince people that not allowing other countries to produce vaccines doesn’t actually help those countries. He’s said that other countries like India don’t have the means to produce vaccines, despite India being the world’s biggest vaccine producer.

Gates is prioritizing intellectual property over people’s lives. He says that companies will distribute more vaccines out to countries like India in a few months. However, India’s COVID situation is horrible, so waiting months for the vaccine will lead to thousands of more deaths.

People have often praised Bill Gates as being one of the good billionaires out there because he donates a lot of his money. The thing is, he donates to his own foundation. Billionaires often use nonprofits for tax breaks and Gates is no different. Gates may care about what his foundation does, but it does serve an economic purpose too.

Gates has always been problematic and it’s good to see that he’s getting scrutinized for his past actions. Unfortunately, he is no different from most absurdly wealthy people you’ll find. Hopefully this current unveiling of Gates will keep people from putting a ton of trust into wealthy public figures. 

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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