In a recent interview on PBS, multi-billionaire Bill Gates was questioned on his association with the late Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted pedophile and sex trafficker. However, the philanthropist’s answers and reactions appeared to be questionable to many.
To follow up on it, Alex Lyon, a professor in communication, tried giving a brief explanation behind Bill Gates’ body language.
Bill Gates Appeared To Be “Hinky”
Academics have a particular field that specializes in deciphering body language, which states that communication can happen non-verbally as well. In the video, Lyon points to a number of cues that make Bill Gates appear suspicious or “hinky”. “Hinky” is a term used by investigating authorities to describe questionable behavior.
Lyon explains that the nonverbal cues and body language of Gates cause his verbal responses to be awkward. Lyon compared Gates’ answers with past replies he gave about his philanthropic activities. Take a look at Lyon’s reaction here:
The first obvious example he gives is Gates is refusing to give a distinct answer when he was asked about his reason to meet Jeffrey Epstein. Gates replies that he had dinners with Epstein, which does not align with the question. Lyon also points out that Gates’ body language was “very distracting”: wringing his fingers and hands, shifting in the chair, as well as moving his eyes and head a lot more. Lyon explains that Gates’ previous answers had some of these cues but not all.
Furthermore, it also indicated that his body language and his words were not aligned – implying that it would be a “tell” if he was playing Poker. In Lyon’s field, this behavior is known as non-verbal leakage. It indicates that Gates has more things in his mind than what he is putting into words. In Lyon’s words, Gates appeared to be “bottled up”, or “restraining himself”.
Another point that Lyon notes is that Gates’s fluency in speaking decreases sharply when replying to the Epstein question. Gates was using filler words like “ah” and “you know” every 2.6 seconds during his Epstein answers. In comparison, during his previous replies, he used them every 6.7 seconds.
Lyon then quotes a couple of sentences from Gates verbatim to show the philanthropists’ disfluency in action. Gates was restarting sentences and repeating words a lot more than usual. For example, Lyon quotes Gates: “Those meetings were, were a mistake”. Gates also paused mid-way during sentences rather than after completing them.
Alex explains that all disfluencies indicate that Gates was navigating a maze in his mind, and was struggling to come up with an organized reply.
Gates’ Second Reply Only Added To The “Hinky” Behavior
Lyon points out that Gates’ second reply is almost identical to his first. In that, he says that he regrets “the dinners” and that “there is nothing new”. Apart from not being the answer to the question that he was asked, Lyon feels like these answers were written by a lawyer.
Alex explains neither was this a transparent conversation nor was it Gates’ usual speech pattern. Gates, in his previous replies, gave helpful details and answers.
The word “dinner” in Gates’ replies is the most dubious part, according to Lyon. Both “nothing new” and “dinner” appear to be “minimization” to Lyon – an attempt to give an explanation that makes things appear to be less dangerous. So Lyon thinks that perhaps these were “more than just dinners”. The Epstein answers were also only half of his earlier answers.
Finally, in Gates’ answer to whether there was a lesson to be learned, Lyon points out that it should have been the simplest answer. However, the reply “he’s dead” and then giving a completely irrelevant answer denotes an act of “bolstering”. According to Lyon, Gates is probably trying to shift the focus towards other good things.
Lyon explains that Gates’ answers became more irrelevant as the questions got easier. Lyon does admit that this is not a proper evaluation and does not intend to do that either. However, according to the communication professor, Gates’ replies were extremely “hinky”.
Featured Image Credit: Communication Coach Alex Lyon/Youtube