A new scandal surrounds tycoon Bill Gates after it was revealed that he sent inappropriate emails to female employees at Microsoft.
A Wall Street Journal article revealed that Microsoft executives discovered that Gates was flirting with a mid-level employee at the company and that both the head of human resources and the chief of staff had asked the tycoon to stop.
According to the newspaper, Brad Smith, then Microsoft’s chief legal officer and current president, and another executive, met with Gates to suggest that he stop sending inappropriate e-mails.
In the messages Gates flirted with the employee, made inappropriate advances and invited her to meet him outside the office; however, the incident did not escalate because “there was no physical interaction.”
“While [the emails] had seductive advances, they were not overtly sexual, but they were considered inappropriate,” said Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw, who added that the employee never made a complaint about the incident.
Gates’ spokeswoman, Bridgitt Arnold, said in a statement that “the claims are false rumors, recycled from sources who have no direct knowledge, and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest.”
Merely the latest controversy
This is not the first time Gates has been embroiled in a similar controversy. In 2019, a letter uncovered an alleged affair between the tycoon and a female engineer before he left the board of Microsoft Corp.
By the time Gates resigned, a board committee had hired a law firm to investigate the 2019 letter about the relationship with the female engineer, who was not the same employee as the one in the aforementioned emails.
After the resignation, Gates’ spokesperson acknowledged that the tycoon had had an affair 20 years earlier, but that it ended amicably, and assured that the board’s review did not influence his resignation.
In addition to the 2007 emails and the 2019 letter, at least one Microsoft board member was aware in 1992 of a romantic relationship between Gates and a Microsoft executive who was not Melinda.
Bill and Melinda met in 1987 when she worked at Microsoft, they married in 1994, and two years later she left the company. In 2021 they filed for divorce after 27 years of marriage.