Bill Gates takes a dig at Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk: 'Space? We have a lot to do here on Earth'
- During an interview with James Corden, Bill Gates poked fun at the billionaire space race.
- Gates comments come a few months after Bezos and Richard Branson took private jets into outer space.
- The interview was days after Gates was asked on camera about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
Bill Gates dissed Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk's preoccupation with outer space during an interview with James Corden.
"I don't know - I've become obsessed with things like Malaria and HIV and getting rid of those diseases, and I probably bore people at cocktail parties talking about diseases," Gates said when Corden asked about his thoughts on some billionaires' interest in space travel. "Space? We have a lot to do here on Earth."
Corden dubbed Gates' response the "classiest burn" he'd ever heard.
The Zoom call with the Microsoft founder launched a special Climate Night edition of "The Late Late Show with James Corden" on Wednesday. During the interview, the comedian thanked Gates for "being the one billionaire who's not trying to escape planet Earth on a spaceship right now."
-The Late Late Show with James Corden (@latelateshow) September 23, 2021
Gates' comment comes a week after Musk's SpaceX completed Inspiration4 - the world's first all-civilian mission to orbit. In July, Bezos and Richard Branson flew their private jets into space. Though the billionaires were only in space for moments, the trips cost billions of dollars.
Both Bezos and Musk have been outspoken regarding their plans to use outer space to offset climate change issues on Earth. While Musk plans to colonize Mars, Bezos wants to offload carbon-heavy industries onto other planets.
Earlier in the week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called the billionaires out for spending billions on space travel, while "millions go hungry on Earth."
At the time of their rocket launches, both billionaires received heavy criticism, as people called for the men to pay higher taxes. Sen. Elizabeth Warren took Bezos to task for the spaceflight after ProPublica reported that the Amazon founder didn't pay any income taxes for at least two years between 2006 and 2018.
Spokespeople from SpaceX, Bezos' Blue Origin, and Branson's Virgin Galactic did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider. But, Bezos acknowledged his critics following his spaceflight.
He said at the time that his critics were "mostly right." He added, "We have to do both. We have lots of problems here and now on Earth and we need to work on those and we also need to look to the future, we've always done that as a species and as a civilization."
Though Musk has yet to go into space, he has received criticism for focusing some of his efforts on space.
"I think we should spend the vast majority of our resources solving problems on Earth. Like, 99% plus of our economy should be dedicated to solving problems on Earth," Musk said in a Netflix documentary about Inspiration4. "But I think maybe something like 1%, or less than 1%, could be applied to extending life beyond Earth."
Gates has been vocal about his interest in public health for many years. The Gates Foundation has given out hundreds of millions of dollars to efforts focused on combating Malaria, and HIV, as well as COVID-19 vaccine equity.
Gates' interview with Corden comes a few days after a PBS interview, where he was asked on camera about his involvement with Jeffrey Epstein. The billionaire said he regrets having dinners with Epstein, who pleaded guilty to sex crimes in Florida in 2008. He was then asked if there was any lesson to be learned.
"Well, he's dead, so in general you always have to be careful," Gates said.
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