Bill Gates never said ‘3 billion people need to die’

CLAIM: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wants to eliminate at least 3 billion people in the world, starting in Africa, in a plot involving vaccines.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Gates never said this. The billionaire philanthropist has spoken about the benefits of slowing the rate of population growth, but he has not advocated killing people.

THE FACTS: A 2019 video falsely claiming Gates wants to depopulate the globe is circulating online anew this month as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available in the United States and elsewhere.

Instagram and Twitter posts containing the video made the further unsubstantiated claim that Gates wanted to use mandatory vaccines as part of his plan to eliminate billions of people.

The video shows naturopath Robert O. Young speaking on a panel for the International Tribunal for Natural Justice, an independent, U.K.-based group that holds “hearings” and “trials” and whose members have promoted baseless conspiracy theories about 5G technology and the coronavirus.

Young, who has previously been convicted for practicing medicine without a license and was ordered to pay $105 million to a woman who said he advised her against traditional cancer treatment, claimed without evidence that Gates planned to kill billions of people, starting in Africa.

“In the words of Bill Gates, at least 3 billion people need to die,” Young said. “So we’ll just start off in Africa, we’ll start doing our research there, and we’ll eliminate most of the Africans because they’re deplorable. They’re worthless. They’re not part of this world economy.”

A review of public statements by Gates found nothing matching these claims. Young’s statement appeared to misrepresent comments Gates made during a TED Talk in 2010, when he said vaccines and improved health care could help reduce the rate of global population growth and, as a result, lower carbon emissions.

“The world today has 6.8 billion people,” Gates said during the talk. “That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we lower that by perhaps 10 or 15%.”

Gates was talking about reducing the rate of population growth, not the population, by 10 or 15%.

In past interviews, Gates has argued that improving vaccines and health care can paradoxically slow the rate of population growth in poor countries, because it lowers the child mortality rate. With more children making it to adulthood, Gates has said, parents may choose to have a smaller family size.

“Amazingly, as children survive, parents feel like they’ll have enough kids to support them in their old age, so they choose to have less children,” Gates said in a 2012 interview. 

Gates has been a frequent target of vaccine and coronavirus conspiracy theories in recent months, several of which The Associated Press has debunked.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Tribunal for Natural Justice did not respond to requests for comment.

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