In the aftermath of the divorce between Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, reports of the Microsoft founder’s questionable behavior in the workplace have surfaced.
The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, May 16, US time, reported that Microsoft’s board of directors had opened an investigation about an affair that Bill Gates supposedly had with a company employee in the year 2000. The investigation was opened in 2019, and a year later, Gates decided to step down from the board.
A spokeswoman told the Journal that Gates’ decision was not related to the investigation but did confirm that there had been an affair, which “ended amicably.”
The New York Times also reported various incidents pertaining to Gates’ extra-marital amorousness.
In 2006, Gates reportedly emailed an employee to ask her out to dinner. Gates also wrote “If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,” the Times said, quoting a person reading the said email to them.
A year or two after that incident, on a trip to New York on behalf of the Gates Foundation, Gates was reported to have approached a woman working for the foundation, and told her, “I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?” The woman said she felt uncomfortable and just laughed to avoid responding.
The Times cites six other current and former employees of Microsoft, the foundation, and the firm managing Gates’ assets, who speak of these and other similar incidents that create uncomfortable work situations. “Mr. Gates was known for making clumsy approaches to women in and out of the office. His behavior fueled widespread chatter among employees about his personal life,” the Times wrote.
The newspaper did say that some employees have said that Bill Gates was not perceived to be predatory, and didn’t pressure the women.
Other matters that have come to surface after the Gateses’ divorce include Bill Gates’ supposed involvement with sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein; and Bill’s handling of a 2017 sexual harrassment case against his money manager, Michael Larson.
The case was settled in 2018, which includes a non-disclosure agreement. Melinda Gates was reportedly not satisfied with the outcome, and called for a law firm to investigate the matter. Larson remains in charge of Cascade Investment, the firm managing the Gateses’ money.
The spokeswoman for Bill Gates, Bridgitt Arnold, refuted the reports, calling them “inaccurate” and criticizing the sources.
“The rumors and speculation surrounding Gates’s divorce are becoming increasingly absurd, and it’s unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge of the situation are being characterized as ‘sources,” she told the Times. – Rappler.com