Bill Gates asked two women who worked at Microsoft and his philanthropic foundation out on dates while still married to Melinda, and mishandled a sexual harassment case against one of his top financial investors, a new report claims.
The Gates, one of the world’s richest couples with a fortune of $130billion, announced this month they were getting divorced, with Melinda saying the marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ in divorce filings.
The New York Times reported that Gates, 64, asked out a Microsoft employee in 2006 after watching her make a presentation.
‘If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,’ Gates emailed the employee, according to the Times.
The woman took his advice and pretended it never happened.
A couple of years later, Gates asked out an employee with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The pair were in New York for a work trip, when he told her: ‘I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?’
The woman told the Times the approach made her feel uncomfortable, but she laughed it off.
The report said there was no expectation that the women would suffer professional repercussions for spurning Gates’ advances.
It’s not clear whether Melinda Gates, who met Bill at Microsoft in the late 1980s, was aware of her husband’s advances.
Bill and Melinda Gates were one of the world’s richest couples with a fortune of $130billion, announced this month they were getting divorced, with Melinda saying the marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ in divorce filings
The couple, seen here after receiving the Commander of the Legion of Honor in Paris in 2017, met on the job at Microsoft in 1987. And Bill Gates went on to ask out female employees years after their 1994 marriage
Bill Gates emailed a Microsoft employee in 2006 after watching her make a presentation asking her out. ‘If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,’ he wrote
Melinda was also unhappy about the way sexual harassment allegations against Gates’ key moneyman Michael Larson, above, were handled
Melinda, who now goes by Melinda French Gates, was also upset at the way allegations of sexual harassments against Michael Larson, one of Gates’ key lieutenants and the manager of his personal fortune, were handled.
Larsen has overseen the enormous expansion of Gates’ personal fortune through an investment vehicle, Cascade Investment.
In 2017, a person wrote to Bill and Melinda to complain that Larson was harassing a female staff member at a bicycle shop part-owned by a venture capital firm Rally Capital, owned by the former married couple.
The woman reached a settlement in 2018, signing a non-disclosure agreement and receiving a payout.
However, Melinda was not happy with the outcome and ordered an independent investigation.
According to the New York Times, Larson was placed on leave during the investigation but was reinstated and still leads Cascade Investments.
The tipping point though appears to have been revelations about Gates’ close ties to Jeffrey Epstein, which caught Melinda by surprise when they were first reported in October 2019.
Their friendship began in 2011, three years after Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor.
Gates continued to spend time with Epstein despite Melinda expressing concerns.
She hired divorce lawyers the same month that revelations emerged about their relationship, which culminated in the announcement this month that their 27 year marriage was over.
Bill was already a billionaire he married Melinda in the early 1990s. He founded Microsoft in 1975 and became the world’s youngest billionaire in 1987 at the age of 31. He also met Melinda that year when she was working at the company where he served as CEO.
Gates’ spokeswoman Bridgitt Arnold denied Gates had mistreated employees.
‘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,’ Ms. Arnold said.
‘Your characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated,’ she told The Times.
The couple are pictured with their three kids in a 2019 family photo. The kids – Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) are now aged 25, 21 and 18.
‘The claim of mistreatment of employees is also false. 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.’
Bill, 64, and Melinda, 56, met in 1987 – the same year he became the world’s youngest billionaire at the age of 31 – married in Hawaii in 1994, and have three children together: Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe 18.
They also established the world’s largest charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000 which has contributed more than $50billion to causes including eradicating polio and malaria. The foundation has also been a major investor in coronavirus treatments.
In a joint statement posted to their Twitter accounts on Monday, the pair said their work with the foundation will continue but their marriage will not, adding: ‘We no longer feel we are able to grow as a couple in this next phase of our lives.’
While the couple have no prenup, it appears a lot of the work of dividing up their estate – which includes properties in five states, a private jet, an astonishing art collection and a fleet of luxury cars – has already been done, as their divorce papers repeatedly refer to a ‘separation contract’ which both have signed. The contract itself has not been made public.