Bill Gates Told To Stop Inappropriate ‘Flirtatious Emails’ Years Ago, Investigation Claims
A new report claims Bill Gates was told to stop sending ‘flirtatious’ emails to a female employee at Microsoft years ago.
In 2007, former head of human resources and General Counsel of the company, Brad Smith, and former Chief People Officer, Lisa Brummel, reportedly had to warn the American business magnate over his ‘flirtatious’ behaviour towards a female employee, exposed through a series of emails.
The report claims the unprofessional behaviour took place just before Gates’ retirement as a full-time employee from the multinational technology corporation in 2008.
The woman was reportedly a ‘midlevel’ employee and was allegedly propositioned when Gates was married and still chairman of the company, The Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the investigation, Gates did not deny the emails had occurred when he was called upon by Smith and Brummel to stop such behaviour. The current fourth richest man in the world reportedly told the pair he realised looking back on it that it hadn’t been a good idea and promised to put an end to it.
A board committee then discussed the issue after being briefed by Smith and Brummel and the matter was closed, on the basis that there had not been any physical engagement between the pair.
Frank Shaw, a Microsoft spokesperson, said the company became aware of the emails only in 2008, just before Gates retired from being a full-time member of the company. It is alleged that the emails showed Gates asking to meet the employee outside of work and away from the company’s grounds. The emails were ruled by Shaw as ‘not overtly sexual’, but still ‘flirtatious’ and ‘inappropriate’.
Gates continued to serve on the board until March 2020, having previously given up his position as chairman in 2014.
He and his wife, Melinda French Gates, divorced in 2021, having first met at Microsoft in 1987 when Melinda joined as an employee.
The ‘flirtatious emails’ follow the scandal of a 2019 letter from a female engineer at the company, who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Gates while he was still married. A law firm was hired by Microsoft to investigate the claim. The woman was not the same party involved in the 2007 emails.
Spokesperson for Gates, Bridgitt Arnold, said the claims surrounding the 2007 ‘flirtatious’ emails were ‘false’.
[The claims are] recycled rumours from sources who have no direct knowledge and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest.
Despite the allegations around Gates’ behaviour towards female employees, it has been reported by former and current Microsoft board members and executives that all issues were properly handled. The #MeToo movement has also allegedly sparked several changes to attitudes and agreements within the company.
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