As Brooks Barnes noted on Sunday, one of the unlikeliest must-see celebrities at Sundance has been Bill Gates. Mr. Gates was in town promoting a documentary, “Waiting for Superman,” about the educational system, which Paramount Vantage bought even before the festival started. As Mr. Barnes also notes, “Viacom, Paramount’s corporate parent, recently agreed to team with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote education improvement; as part of the agreement, the foundation pays third parties that create such content for Viacom.”
All of this is fine and good, business as usual, but Mr. Gates isn’t just on a promotional blitz; he’s actually been partying. Two nights in a row he was spotted at after-hours shows, Kelis and a jam with John Legend and the Roots.
“After seeing him dance, I can now vouch that Gates is both the world’s richest and whitest man,” wrote Nathan Rabin of the AV Club. Both the shows that Mr. Gates hit were at Microsoft’s Bing lounge, which has been sponsoring celebrity-heavy dinners and concerts all week.
So, which came first, the Bagger asked a Bing events planner at a dinner the other night, the Bing-branded spaces or Mr. Gates’s interest in coming to Sundance? “Good question,” he said, explaining that capitalizing on Mr. Gates is tricky for Microsoft since he has officially stepped down to do charity work. Still, he added, the company is using him “very strategically.”
Courtesy of Melena Ryzik