Bill Gates was allegedly advised in 2008 by executives at the company to halt inappropriate communication with a female employee, according to a new report.
The claims, published by the Wall Street Journal, are the latest to shed light on potential misconduct by Gates while he was still working at Microsoft. The Wall Street Journal had previously revealed claims Gates left the company’s board amid an investigation into a past affair with a staffer.
At the time he left his role in 2020, Gates said he was stepping down to focus on his philanthropic endeavors. However, the Journal report revealed board members at Microsoft pushed Gates out as they investigated an allegedly inappropriate relationship he had with a female employee.
The Wall Street Journal’s most recent coverage now says that more than a decade before Gates’s departure from Microsoft, executives had discovered emails between Gates and a female mid-level staffer.
The new report alleges that Gates was flirtatious and propositioned the female employee over email. At the time, Gates was married and was still the board chairman at Microsoft.
Gates was approached by two Microsoft executives at the time – then-general counsel Brad Smith and then-chief people officer Lisa Brummel – who asked him to stop. Gates, according to the Journal, admitted the exchanges were ill-advised and agreed to put an end to them.
In a statement to the Guardian, a spokesman for Gates denied the most recent Journal report that the former executive had been involved in inappropriate email communications.
“These claims are false, recycled rumors from sources who have no direct knowledge, and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest,” the spokesman said.
Gates has also recently come under fire for reports he had previously met with the disgraced financier and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein a number of times, according to the New York Times.
Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 and went on to become one of the richest people in the world.
Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, divorced in August after nearly 30 years together. The pair still co-lead the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropy organization they founded together .