Billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates made headlines earlier this month after announcing their plans to seek a divorce. Now, stories are coming out that may shed some light on the situation. According to a report from The New York Times on Sunday, Gates is said to have “pursued” multiple women who worked for him even after having married his wife in 1994.
According to The Times, the software tycoon “clumsily” asked out his female employees, a behavior which led to “an uncomfortable workplace environment.”
Gates asked out subordinates
One incident that reportedly took place in 2006 involved Gates sending an email to a Microsoft staffer after she had given a presentation.
In an awkward online exchange, Gates concluded his message by stating, “If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,” according to the report.
Gates is also said to have approached a woman who worked for the philanthropic foundation that he and his wife founded, saying, “I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?”
The female employee later described the encounter as making her feel uncomfortable and recalled responding to the request by laughing to get out of the situation, according to The Times.
Melinda Gates concerned by ties to Epstein
Melinda Gates is also reported to have been concerned by news stories tying her husband to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Fox Business reported that Gates and Epstein met in 2013 and continued to associate with one another.
Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to prostitution charges in Florida in what critics called a “sweetheart deal.” He was awaiting trail on federal human trafficking charges at the time of his death in August 2019.
The New York Post quoted a statement from Gates spokesperson Bridgitt Arnold in which she slammed media reports that her boss behaved inappropriately toward his subordinates.
“It is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause, the circumstances and the timeline of Bill Gates’s divorce,” Arnold said in a statement.
“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 added.