As if philanthropist/philanderer Bill Gates hasn’t already suffered enough humiliation this year in light of his reputation-bruising divorce from Melinda French Gates, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the billionaire sad sack apparently had to be told to stop propositioning a mid-level female Microsoft employee via flirtatious emails in the late aughts.
In 2008, before Gates retired as a full-time chief software architect at Microsoft, company executives discovered the emails, written the year prior, in which Gates suggested meeting up with the woman outside of work and off campus. A Microsoft spokesperson told the Journal, “While flirtatious, they were not overtly sexual, but were deemed to be inappropriate.” The company’s general counsel and Chief People Officer reportedly told Gates that his behavior had to stop, and Gates “didn’t deny the exchanges, told the executives in hindsight it wasn’t a good idea and said that he would stop.”
A spokesperson for Gates denied the allegations, telling the Journal: “These claims are false, recycled rumors from sources who have no direct knowledge, and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest.”
Gates supposedly had a reputation as a bit of a workplace coquette. Per the New York Times, on multiple occasions he pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including a Microsoft engineer with whom he had a consensual intimate relationship, a different Microsoft employee whom Gates reportedly asked out after a presentation, and a Gates Foundation employee to whom he allegedly said, “I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?” during a work trip to New York. This was all while he was still married to French Gates, whom he also met at work; she joined Microsoft in 1987, and she has described how Gates flirted with her at a conference and asked her out in the company parking lot.
Of course, that was before Gates started hanging out with notable sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, whose relationship with Gates reportedly bothered French Gates. And the rest is history: the couple split, French Gates walked away with billions of dollars, and the former spouses decided to share custody of their charity. Meanwhile, French Gates undoubtedly won the breakup in the court of public opinion, while Gates has had to repeatedly take to the press to apologize for his past mistakes. At least he still has an estimated net worth of $132.5 billion to cheer him up.
In other news, the former spouses and current reluctant colleagues just attended the wedding of their eldest daughter Jennifer, who married the equestrian Nayel Nassar in Westchester County, New York. Congrats to the happy couple and especially to the father of the bride.