- Bill Gates has engaged in inappropriate conduct at work on multiple occasions, according to news reports from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
- Several accusations have surfaced since Gates and Melinda French Gates announced their divorce on May 3.
- Gates’ also had a deeper relationship with Jeffrey Epstein than previously known which, according to the news reports, was a point of contention between him and French Gates.
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In 1998, Bill Gates, then the wealthiest person in America, appeared before Congress to testify about whether Microsoft, then the wealthiest company in America, about accusations it was abusing its market power. Industry observers believed Gates was overly arrogant during his testimony, and the government eventually reined in Microsoft’s power in a landmark antitrust lawsuit.
Since then, Gates has tried to shed his reputation as a cocky tech mogul, instead crafting a public image of a nerdy do-gooder, largely through his philanthropy.
But since Gates and his wife, Melinda French Gates, announced their plans to divorce, reports about his conduct toward female coworkers and his relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have chipped away at that image.
These allegations have come from a variety of sources and mention incidents dating back years before the divorce announcement, suggesting Gates’ private reputation has long diverged from the image he’s portrayed publicly.
Here are all the times Gates has been accused of questionable behavior.
1987: Bill Gates started dating Melinda French Gates while he was her boss at Microsoft.
While he wasn’t her direct boss, Gates ran Microsoft when French Gates joined as a product manager in 1987 straight out of college, and he asked her out in a company parking lot, she said at a 2016 conference.
2000: Gates had an intimate relationship with a Microsoft employee while married to French Gates.
In 2019, a female Microsoft employee told the company Gates initiated a sexual relationship with her in 2000 that lasted for years, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Microsoft’s board investigated the incident and wanted Gates to resign from the board, according to The Journal. Gates stepped down in March 2020 before the board completed its investigation.
A spokeswoman for Gates told The Journal his decision to step down “was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.”
2006: Gates asked a female Microsoft employee out to dinner.
The New York Times reported Gates asked a female Microsoft employee to dinner after attending a presentation she gave.
“If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,” Gates wrote, according to The Times.
2007-08: Gates asked a Gates Foundation employee to dinner.
The New York Times reported that at a cocktail party on a work trip, Gates asked a woman who worked for him to dinner.
“I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?” Gates said in a hushed voice, according to The Times.
Some employees told The Times they were disappointed in Gates but didn’t believe his behavior was predatory.
2011: Gates continued to spend time with Jeffrey Epstein years after his sex-crime conviction.
The New York Times reported Gates met with Epstein at least three times beginning in 2011, despite French Gates’ objections. The meetings occurred three years after Epstein was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor.
“Your characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated,” Bridgitt Arnold, a spokesperson for Gates, told The Times.
2017: At least two Gates Foundation employees kept in touch with Epstein.
The New York Times reported at least two senior officials with the Gates Foundation remained in contact with Epstein until late 2017, years after accusations against Epstein had piled up.
2018: Gates botched an investigation into a sexual-harassment allegation against his longtime wealth manager.
The New York Times reported French Gates wasn’t happy with how Gates handled a sexual-harassment allegation against his longtime wealth manager, Michael Larson, and pushed for an independent investigation after Gates tried to settle the case confidentially.