Phoebe Gates has condemned racist comments she receives about her boyfriend, who is Black, while opening up about the downsides of social media fame.
Gates, 20, the youngest daughter of Bill and Melinda Gates, spoke candidly about her TikTok popularity during an interview with The Information. The Stanford University student has more than 64,000 followers on TikTok, where she goes by the username @phoebegates, and where she often posts videos featuring her famous parents.
However, according to Gates, her internet fame isn’t always a good thing, as she noted that it means she is often the target of “misconceptions and conspiracy theories”.
“The misconceptions and conspiracy theories about my family and my relationship with my boyfriend,” the 20-year-old said when asked about the worst part of her social media popularity.
Gates went Instagram official with her boyfriend, a fellow Stanford student named Robert Ross, according to Page Six, in July 2022. According to Gates, she and her boyfriend have been subjected to comments about their relationship since then, with the TikToker revealing she’s “done being memed” about being in an “interracial relationship”.
“It’s 2023. I’m done being memed for being in an interracial relationship,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.
During the interview, Gates, whose billionaire parents divorced in 2021 after 27 years of marriage, also revealed that she is aware most of her followers follow her because of her last name.
“I’m pretty realistic that people start following me because of my family name. And people probably find it funny to see my dad being a goof and playing Boxbollen,” Gates said, according to Insider.
When dad gets the #boxball for Christmas
♬ I Got 5 On It - Tethered Mix from US - Michael Abels & Luniz
In addition to influencer-style “day in the life” videos, and a viral video of her father playing with the red Box Ball, which has been viewed more than eight million times, Gates also posts more serious content, such as a conversation with her mother Melinda about abortion and women’s rights.
Sayana Press can be administered by women themselves. For women far from a clinic or in other tough settings, this is game changing. #ReproductiveRights
♬ original sound - Phoebe Gates
According to the 20 year old, it is this content that she believes her followers stay for.
“But once they follow me, they stick around, and I think some of that is because of the issues that I post about, like women’s health,” she said, according to Insider. “And honestly, TikTok is fun.”
As for how her parents feel about her social media usage, Gates told The Information that her mother is “supportive and curious,” while her father, the co-founder of Microsoft, “publishes a lot on social,” but “doesn’t follow it much himself”.
Gates’ older sister Jennifer is also an avid user of social media, with the 26 year old revealing on Instagram on Friday that she and husband Nayel Nassar welcomed their first child, a daughter.
“Sending love from our healthy little family,” Jennifer captioned a photo of herself and her husband holding the newborn’s feet.
The post prompted a comment from Jennifer’s younger sister, who commented three red heart emojis, while Melinda wrote: “Welcome to the world. My heart overflows.”
In addition to their two daughters, Bill and Melinda also share a son Rory, 23, who is not active on social media.