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Bill Gates admits to having an affair with Microsoft staffer — which triggered an internal investigation

Photo by Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

Bill Gates on Sunday admitted to having had an affair with a Microsoft engineer 20 years ago, according to a report from the New York Times, which reportedly prompted an internal investigation.

The outlet reported that the tech billionaire resigned before board members could force him out of the company.

He has claimed that his departure had nothing to do with the affair.

What are the details?

A spokesperson for Gates — who, along with estranged wife, Melinda Gates, announced the couple's intent to divorce earlier this month — told the outlet, "There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably."

The report alleged that Bill was known to "pursue" multiple women while married to Melinda.

The report, titled, "Long Before Divorce, Bill Gates Had a Reputation for Questionable Behavior," outlined Bill's purported propensity for soliciting dinner and meetings with Microsoft employees in whom he reportedly had more than just a passing professional interest.

The Times noted, "In 2019, Microsoft's board of directors, on which Mr. Gates sat, opened an investigation into one of those cases after being notified that he had 'sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000.'"

In response, the board hired a law firm to investigate the matter.

According to the report, Bill reportedly messaged a Microsoft employee in 2006 with a dinner invitation and wrote, "If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened." Bill was the company chairman at the time of the alleged 2006 incident.

A year or two later, Bill reportedly approached another employee and said, "I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?"

The woman told the outlet that she "felt uncomfortable," but "laughed to avoid responding."

"On at least a few occasions, Mr. Gates pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation," the outlet added.

"Six current and former employees of Microsoft, the foundation and the firm that manages the Gates's fortune said those incidents, and others more recently, at times created an uncomfortable workplace environment," the report continued. "Mr. Gates was known for making clumsy approaches to women in and out of the office. His behavior fueled widespread chatter among employees about his personal life."

While the employees said that Gates' behavior made employees uncomfortable, they did not believe it was "predatory" and added that the former Microsoft CEO "did not pressure the women to submit to his advances for the sake of their careers."

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