Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had to face backlash from conspiracy theorists during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a new interview, the billionaire talked about his reaction to it, how he handled the situation.
What Happened: In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, ahead of the release of the publication of the annual Goalkeepers Report from the co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the tech entrepreneur said that he has run into a few people in public who have yelled at him, alleging that he placed chips into people.
“That’s kind of strange to see: ‘Wow, these people really exist, it’s not just some robot sending out crazy messages,” said Gates. However, he thinks the suspicions are beginning to “die down.”
“I hope so, it’s tragic if it made people more reluctant to trust vaccines or to wear a mask where they should have.”
Why It’s Important: The backlash in the U.S. was focused on both Gates and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, who led the government’s COVID-19 vaccine drive, Gates said. Internationally, he had to bear the brunt of the attacks because “they didn’t know who Tony was, he really missed out on that.”
Although taking it lightly is the only way to rationally deal with it, it is “pretty serious stuff” Gates said.
“The innovations on how you get the truth have to be as interesting as the big lie — we face that in a number of domains, and I haven’t seen as good a solution as I think we’d all like to see,” he added.