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Facebook Post Makes Baseless Claim About Bill Gates’ Family Ties

Quick Take

A Facebook post makes the baseless claim that Bill Gates’ mother was related to Ghislaine Maxwell, an associate of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The post also shows an image of a young man who is misidentified as Gates.

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For years, social media conspiracy theorists have been circulating false information about bogus family relationships between public figures. In light of Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest in July for allegedly conspiring with Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse minors, numerous theories have popped up about her familial ties. Most recently, social media posts have claimed Bill Gates is related to Maxwell.

On Aug. 4, an account associated with the QAnon conspiracy group posted an image on Facebook that falsely claimed to show Gates with a rabbi and included this inaccurate caption: “Bill Gates with Rabbi Schneerson the head of the Jewish extremist end times cult Chabad Lubavitch. Gate’s mother is a Maxwell, related to the Israeli Mossad agents Robert Maxwell and his daughter Ghislaine, who used child trafficking to blackmail world leaders with Jeffrey Epstein. Do you get it?” 

But Gates is not in the photo, which originally accompanied a 2014 article that appeared in the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post. The photo features Yosef I. Abramowitz, the author of the article, “Better Energy: The Rebbe’s energy.” The Post captioned the photo, “The author with the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1992.” Gates is not referenced anywhere in the article.

In addition to not being the young man pictured, Gates isn’t Jewish.

In 2014, Gates was interviewed by Rolling Stone about religion, among other topics. When asked about his belief in God, Gates said he agreed with “people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths” and people “sought false explanations” because they didn’t understand the natural world. However, Gates also said that he and his wife, Melissa, have “raised our kids in a religious way; they’ve gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in.”

In addition to misrepresenting Gates’ religion, the post claims without evidence that Gates’ mother was related to Ghislaine Maxwell’s father.

Although Gates’ mother, Mary Gates, had the maiden name Maxwell, the Facebook post provides no connection between her and Ghislaine Maxwell’s family. Mary Gates’ father, James Willard Maxwell Jr., was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, and was a bank executive and civic leader in Seattle, Washington. His father, J. W. Maxwell, Sr., founded the National City Bank of Seattle.

In contrast, Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, Robert Maxwell, was born Jan Ludvik Hoch in Czechoslovakia. Robert Maxwell lost most of his Jewish family during the Holocaust, but he escaped to France and then the UK. He was a member of British Parliament in the 1960s and ran the Maxwell Communication Corporation, which included the Mirror Group Newspapers and the New York Daily News.

We tried to reach the account that posted the claims on Facebook regarding any ties between Gates and Ghislaine Maxwell’s family, but we received no response.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.


Abramowitz, Yosef. “Better Energy: The Rebbe’s energy.” The Jerusalem Post. 1 Jul 2014. 

Fichera, Angelo. “Social Posts Distort Facts on Political Relationships.” FactCheck.org. 20 Nov 2019.

Goodell, Jeff. “Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview.” Rolling Stone. 13 Mar 2014.

“James Willard Maxwell Jr.” Find A Grave. Accessed 12 Aug 2020.

Museum of History & Industry. “James W. Maxwell and wife walking along a sidewalk, possibly in Seattle, 1938.” Accessed 12 Aug 2020.

QAnon Great Awakening. “Once conspiracy, now facts. #GreatAwakening.” Facebook. 4 Aug 2020.

Quinn, Caitlin. “Social Media Posts Spread False Claim About Fauci’s Wife.” FactCheck.org. 10 July 2020.

“Richard Dawkins.” BBC. 22 Oct 2010.

Associated Press. “Mary Gates, 64; Helped Her Son Start Microsoft.” New York Times. 11 Jun 1994.

“Robert Maxwell.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 May 2020.

United States Attorney General’s Office, Southern District of New York. “Ghislaine Maxwell Charged In Manhattan Federal Court For Conspiring With Jeffrey Epstein to Sexually Abuse Minors.” 2 Jul 2020.

“Yosef I. Abramowitz.” The Jerusalem Post.