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Minggu, 16 Mei 2021

Bill Gates’ issues at Microsoft, in private life before divorce from Melinda Gates - NEWS.com.au

Bill Gates’ squeaky clean image as a philanthropic family man is getting murkier by the day.

It’s been two weeks since Bill and Melinda Gates announced their marriage was ending after 27 years together.

“We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,” the couple said, in a joint statement, on May 4.

Since then, the problems that likely led to the end of the couple’s marriage have continued to emerge.

Stories of Gates allegedly awkward behaviour with female employees, weekend retreats with ex-girlfriends and a little-known connection to Jeffrey Epstein have all emerged — with reports suggesting the Microsoft founder was up to much more than tirelessly building his tech business and charity. A spokeswoman for Gates has strongly denied any wrongdoing on his behalf.

RELATED: Melinda Gates’ concerns about friendship with Jeffrey Epstein

RELATED: Bill Gates went on holiday with his ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad every year

Today, The New York Times published further allegations about the billionaire.

In 2006, 12 years into his marriage to Melinda, Gates attended a presentation by a female Microsoft employee and immediately invited the woman out to dinner.

“If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,” Gates, who was at the time the chairman of Microsoft, wrote in an email, according to a person who read it to The New York Times. The female employee ignored the email.

A year or two later, Gates was in New York City on behalf of his and Melinda’s foundation, and allegedly made another woman uncomfortable at a cocktail party.

“I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?” Gates said, according to the woman, who was an employee of the foundation.

The woman laughed, and avoided responding.

According to six of Gates’ current and former employees, the 65-year-old tech boss was known for approaching women clumsily and uncomfortably.

The same group of six said they would not define Gates’ behaviour as “predatory” but all of them disapproved.

Gates left Microsoft board amid investigation into affair with former employee

A separate investigation by the Wall Street Journal today reported Microsoft board members decided it best that Gates step down from its board in 2020 after an internal investigation found a prior romantic relationship with one of the company’s engineers was “inappropriate”.

The female Microsoft engineer wrote a letter to the board in late 2019, alleging she and Gates had been in a sexual relationship for years.

“Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” a Microsoft spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.

“A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern.”

Gates’ spokeswoman said the affair had “ended amicably” and his decision to step down from Microsoft’s board in March 2020 was not linked to the investigation and instead linked to him wanting to focus more on his philanthropic work.

Gates was also known at the foundation for being dismissive of his wife Melinda and meetings with the couple would often leave staff “cringing” at the tense atmosphere.

Melinda lifted the lid on some of the struggles within her marriage in her 2019 book, The Moment of Lift.

The pair reportedly clashed over the handling of the Gates Foundation, with the 56-year-old revealing her desire to take over more responsibility alongside her already globally renowned husband, admitting it was “hard to be heard”.

“I’ve been trying to find my voice as I’ve been speaking next to Bill, and that can make it hard to be heard,” she wrote.

She said a request to co-author the annual Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation letter, usually written solely by her husband, brought particular strain on their 27-year marriage.

“I thought we were going to kill each other,” she wrote.

“I felt, ‘Well, this just might end the marriage right here.’

“I told him that there are some issues where my voice can make an impact, and in those cases, I should be speaking — separately or along with him.

“It got hot. We both got angry. It was a big test for us — not about how you come to agreement but about what you do when you can’t agree. And we took a long time to agree.”

Bill Gates’ spokesperson hits back at damning allegations

Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Gates, told the The New York Times that the allegations about the way he conducted himself were “false”.

“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 characterisation of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated,” she continued.

“Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false. The claim of mistreatment of employees is also false. The rumours 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 characterised as ‘sources.’”

Ms Arnold said in 2019 that Gates “regrets” meeting Epstein and acknowledges it was an “error in judgment”.

Gates first met Epstein in 2011, three years after the billionaire businessman was convicted for soliciting prostitution from a minor.

Melinda was reportedly furious the two had formed a connection and, according to The Daily Beast, Gates and Epstein’s burgeoning friendship was a “turning point” in the couple’s relationship.

Melinda hired divorce lawyers in late 2019, just a few months after Epstein and Gates’ relationship was made public and the disgraced billionaire financier died in prison, waiting to stand trial on sex trafficking charges.

Gates went into damage control after his connection to Epstein was made public, insisting their discussions were based on philanthropy.

“Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men,” Gates said in a statement in 2019.

“I was never at any parties or anything like that.”

His spokeswoman, Bridgitt Arnold, said he “regrets” meeting Epstein and acknowledges that it was an “error in judgment”.

In 2017, the couple were also faced with a sexual harassment allegation regarding a long-standing business associate.

Michael Larson had worked as Gates’ money manager for almost three decades when he was accused of sexual harassment by a bike shop manager who had been working with Mr Larson.

The woman wrote a letter to the Gates’ in 2017, saying she was being sexually harassed by Mr Larson, had tried to handle it on her own, and was now asking the couple for help.

The woman reached a settlement in 2018 and signed a nondisclosure agreement in exchange for the money.

Melinda was unsatisfied with how the matter was handled, hiring an external law firm to conduct an independent review.

Mr Larson was briefly stood down however remains in his job now.

It also emerged earlier this month that Gates spent a long weekend every year at a cozy beach cottage in the US state of North Carolina — with his old girlfriend.

The billionaire Microsoft founder ensured the bizarre arrangement had Melinda’s blessing before they married in 1994.

“We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” Gates told Time in 1997, when revealing his private getaways with fellow tech expert and ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad.

Gates even sought Winblad’s approval before proposing to his wife.

“When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval,” he said.

Winblad gave Gates the approval he was seeking.

“I said she’d be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina,” Winblad said.

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2021-05-17 02:23:17Z
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