Bill Gates revealed that he drank fecal sludge on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates posted on LinkedIn on Saturday to talk about World Toilet Day. The Gates Foundation — the charitable organization that Gates shares with his ex-wife, Melinda — has made poor sanitation one of its main focuses. To demonstrate his seriousness about the cause, Gates revealed that, “I drank water from fecal sludge with Jimmy Fallon, shared the stage with a jar of human feces, and smelled pit latrine odor.”
“I’ve done some weird crap over the years,” he wrote. “These antics got a few laughs,” he continued, “but my goal has always been to get people to care about an issue that impacts 3.6 billion people: poor sanitation.” We have to hand it to Bill Gates for wanting to bring awareness of poor sanitation by consuming his own fecal matter.
The poop-drinking incident occurred on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in 2015, where Gates demonstrated the Omniprocessor, a machine that turns feces into water and electricity. The feces drop into a large bin and is fed through the machine where it is boiled and treated, and a few minutes later comes out the other end of the machine and is converted to drinking water. That drinking water is clearly safe to consume, as Gates did so in front of the entire world, or in front of those who had seen this episode.
Poor sanitation is a serious issue, far more serious than drinking “fecal sludge” with a late-night TV host. Improper sanitation systems lead to water and soil contamination, in addition to illness and in many cases, death. It is estimated that approximately 500,000 infants die tragically every year due to poor sanitation — and now that the global population has surpassed eight billion people, the problem is likely to get worse.
Unfortunately, as serious of an issue as poor sanitation really is, it’s also one that is very difficult to get people to care about, which makes awareness campaigns much harder than they would be for another topic. This, understandably, is why Bill Gates has engaged in stunts like drinking fecal sludge, hosting “smell summits,” or sharing the stage with a beaker of poop onstage in China, during the Reinvented Toilet Expo in 2018.
“Thanks to scientists and engineers from around the world, we’re getting closer to new solutions that will prevent disease and illness.” Gates said. This machine that converts fecal sludge into drinkable water might be one of those huge solutions.
Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda continue to run The Gates Foundation, even after the couple’s much-publicized divorce. One detail of the divorce came to light when a Microsoft engineer wrote a letter detailing a romantic relationship, they allege took place over several years. The Microsoft board hired a law firm to investigate the matter. Bill Gates resigned from the board before that investigation was completed.
Additionally, Melinda French Gates was reportedly unhappy with her husband’s dealings with the convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. Bill Gates has said publicly that they were not friends or business partners, that he met with Epstein because he was told that Epstein knows a lot of rich people and he seemed like a good connection to make in order to raise more money for his philanthropic efforts.
Melinda French Gates was furious about the growing relationship between Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein. She warned Gates to cut off that connection. He didn’t. He reportedly met with Epstein several times over the years and even spent a night in the sex offender’s mansion. Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in August 2019. His death was determined to be a suicide.