Bill Gates allegedly had a lengthy affair with an employee and members of Microsoft’s board wanted to oust him from the board, a report said Sunday.
Gates resigned from the board of directors on March 13, 2020, three months after being re-elected at Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting. A female employee wrote the board in late 2019 alleging that she and Gates had a sexual relationship that lasted years. The company enlisted the help of an outside law firm to look into the situation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” a Microsoft spokesman told the Journal. “A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern.”
According to the report, board members were increasingly eager to remove Gates from the board. They did not want the company to be led by a man who had been accused of sexual misconduct in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement.
Gates denied that the alleged affair and subsequent investigation had anything to do with his departure from the company he co-founded with his friend, Paul Allen, in 1975. Gates went on to become the company’s face and one of the most well-known figures in Silicon Valley.
“There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably,” a Gates spokeswoman told the Journal. “[Gates’] decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.”
Gates and his wife Melinda French Gates announced their divorce earlier this month.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in a joint statement. “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.”
“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,” they added. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
Bill Gates reportedly asked out several women in his office
According to a report on Sunday, Bill Gates “pursued” several women in his office long after he married now-estranged wife Melinda in 1994 — but it was the revelation of his ties to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein that really shook their marriage.
The New York Times detailed two instances where the billionaire tech mogul clumsily asked out women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Six current and former employees told the newspaper that the two incidents, as well as other recent ones, created an uncomfortable workplace environment, with Gates’ personal life becoming gossip fodder among employees.
Following a presentation by a female Microsoft employee in 2006, Gates, the company’s then-chairman, emailed the woman to invite her out to dinner, according to two people familiar with the exchange.
“If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,” Gates wrote in an email to the employee, according to the report.
The woman was uncomfortable and pretended Gates never asked her out, the Times reported.
A few years later, another woman, who worked for the Gates’ philanthropic foundation, told the Times that he asked her out during a work trip to New York, saying “I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?”
The woman recalled that she felt uncomfortable but laughed to avoid responding.
The Gates’ divorce was not a “friendly split,” a source close to the family said. Bill’s handling of a sexual harassment claim against his money manager, as well as his relationship with convicted sex offender and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein created deep rifts between him and Melinda, according to The New York Times.
From 2011 to 2013, Bill met with Epstein several times, several years after Epstein was convicted of procuring a child for prostitution. Gates also flew on Epstein’s infamous private jet, the “Lolita Express.”