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If news reports are anything to go by, the swift condemnation of the tech visionary and the celebrated founder of Microsoft because of his alleged dalliances and his relationship with the now deceased financier, Jeffrey Epstein, has been long overdue. Indeed, some have expressed surprise at how “inevitable” it was for Gates’ and his rumored flings and advances towards women, to come out, considering that they were long speculated upon.
However, Gates’ fall from grace could not have been anticipated by the majority of us, who rely on mainstream news media, and otherwise shun “conspiracy” theories. Of course, it also tells us that no one, however powerful or revered they are, are “free” from the incessant media glare once the allegations fly thick and fast. Indeed, it almost looks like the “paparazzi” were waiting for such revelations to “pull down” one more famous figure from the “pedestal” that they themselves have been responsible for placing them there.
On the other hand, the Gates’ saga also has implications for how we should treat those public figures who “tower over us” once their fame proves ephemeral. In this context, it is worth noting that Epstein and his “contacts” became controversial once he was jailed with all and sundry, rushing to “clear” themselves of any wrongdoing. This includes a long cast of actors, royalty, sports-persons, media figures, and even academics (yes, you read that right!!), who otherwise seem “respectable” and are also famous.
Moreover, Gates’ and his predilections also beg the question as to why it was not until Melinda chose to file for divorce, that the “collective consciousness” was treated to a steady trickle of bits of gossip and innuendo. Do mainstream journalists not have a duty to inform us or at least, hint at some of the things that the rich and famous do, even if they are afraid of libel? Maybe it is too much to ask if such public figures are meant to be above the fray, when it comes to such delicate matters.
Having said that, there are some who believe that this is “better late than never” and hence, relieved, albeit temporarily, that the “dirty linen” is now being washed in public. The same goes for a long list of “achievers” such as Rajat Gupta of McKinsey, Raj Rajratnam in finance, and the many disgraced politicos and media personalities, some of whom were made very “uncomfortable” in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
It is also the fact that such individuals find their way back into the limelight once the sound and fury subsides and the lights are dimmed and it would not be surprising if Bill Gates returns in a New Avatar before long. So, the show goes on with a new cast and once the proverbial short memories fade, the curtains go up on the next act. Are we learning anything, or is it that our cynical selves, are OK as long as we are kept “entertained”?