Long after marrying his now-estranged wife Melinda in 1994, Bill Gates reportedly "pursued" several women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The New York Times detailed at least two of those instances in a report Sunday. Current and former employees told the paper that the two incidents created an uncomfortable workplace environment.
In one instance, Gates reportedly emailed a female Microsoft employee in 2006, asking her out to dinner.
"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.
Some years later, Gates reportedly asked out another woman who worked for Gates’ philanthropic foundation. The woman told The Times she felt uncomfortable and laughed to avoid responding.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Microsoft board members decided Gates needed to step down from its board in 2020 as they pursued an investigation into his alleged affair with a female Microsoft employee. Gates resigned before the investigation was complete. His spokeswoman said the affair was nearly 20 years ago and his decision to step down was not related to the investigation.
It remains unclear how much Melinda knew about her husband’s alleged office behavior. But what really shook their marriage was her husband’s ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Melinda had relayed to Bill as early as 2013 that she was uncomfortable with Epstein after the couple met him in 2013. Then in 2019, The New York Times reported details of her husband’s relationship that she had not previously known. She then hired divorce lawyers and set in motion the couple’s divorce that was announced earlier this month.
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokesperson for Bill, told The Times that the "rumors and speculation surrounding Gates’ 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.’"