According to a report by The New York Times, mega-billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates reportedly “pursued” several women who worked for him at Microsoft and at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, all while married to his now-estranged wife.
Six current and former staffers told the Times that his “graceless” approaches created an uncomfortable workplace environment. In one example, Gates asked an employee to dinner via email after a presentation she gave at the company in 2006. “If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,” he wrote. The woman did, in fact, pretend it never happened.
In another example a few years later, Gates told a female Foundation employee while at a cocktail party on a work trip, “I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?” She laughed it off.
Gates’ conduct sparked company gossip but employees didn’t feel pressured to give in to his advances for the sake of their careers, so no actions were taken. But Melinda Gates was reportedly displeased enough about her husband associating with now-suicided sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein to initiate a divorce. Gates’ rumored advances may have contributed to her abruptly ending a 27-year marriage to one of the world’s wealthiest and most influential men.