Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates and his philanthropist wife Melinda Gates announced earlier this month that they will divorce. The breakup of one of the richest and most powerful couples in the world has given rise to scrutiny as to what may have prompted them to take the plunge. One of the main reasons for the divorce is said to be the questionable behavior of the world famous software pioneer in the workplace, highlighted by several leading newspapers in their reports.
Bill Gates has repeatedly sued women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the developments.
Read also: Here’s what Melinda Gates could spend her fortune on after her divorce
In 2018, a sexual harassment complaint against the billionaire’s longtime manager, Michael Larson, came to light. While Bill Gates insisted that the matter be settled internally, Melinda Gates wanted an outside investigation. At the end of the investigation, Melinda Gates would have been unhappy with her husband’s handling of the case, according to the NYT. Michael Larson still works for Gates.
The following year, Microsoft’s board of directors, of which Bill Gates was a member, opened an investigation into a case after learning that their co-founder had “sought to enter into an intimate relationship with an employee of the company in the year 2000, “according to Frank X Shaw, a Microsoft spokesperson. The incident was reported by the Wall Street Journal. In 2020, Bill Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s board of directors. However, Bridgitt Arnold, spokesperson for Bill Gates, said the case took place 20 years ago and ended “amicably”. “Gates’ decision to leave the board was in no way related to this matter,” she added.
Read also: Bill and Melinda Gates divorce after 27 years of marriage
The nail in the coffin is said to be the billionaire’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, who has been charged with sex trafficking and has pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor. When Bill Gates started hanging out with him in 2011, three years after Epstein’s confession, Melinda Gates expressed unease. When Bill Gates did not end his association with Epstein and their relationship became public in October 2019, Melinda Gates hired divorce lawyers, according to people who attended or were informed of the meetings with the two. men, the NYT reported.
Arnold, however, said the characterization of his conduct was not fair. “It is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause, circumstances and timeline of Bill Gates’ divorce,” she said.
“Any claim that Gates spoke disparagingly about his marriage or Melinda is untrue. The allegation of employee mistreatment is also false. Rumors and speculation surrounding Gates’ divorce are becoming more and more absurd, and it is unfortunate that people with little or no knowledge of the situation are being labeled ‘sources’, ”she said. added.