Microsoft executives once ordered Bill Gates to stop sending flirty emails to a female subordinate, according to a new report.
The alleged misbehavior occurred more than a decade before the Microsoft board learned of an affair between Gates and another female employee, which preceded Gates’ divorce and resignation from the Microsoft board.
Gates allegedly sent the frisky emails to a midlevel female Microsoft employee in 2007, while he was working as a full-time employee, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
He also reportedly asked her to meet up outside work hours and off the Microsoft campus.
In 2008, other Microsoft executives found out about the alleged emails and met with Gates, according to the report.
At the meeting, then-General Counsel Brad Smith and then-Chief People Officer Lisa Brummel reportedly told Gates the emails were inappropriate and ordered him to stop.
Gates then admitted that sending the emails was a bad idea and agreed to stop, according to the Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.
The board reportedly decided against further action because Gates did not have physical contact with the employee.
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokesperson for Gates, did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Post but told the Journal that the claims in Monday’s report were “false, recycled rumors from sources who have no direct knowledge, and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest.”
Microsoft also did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Post. A spokesperson for the company, Frank Shaw, told the Journal that the employee never made a complaint about the incident.
“While flirtatious, they were not overtly sexual, but were deemed to be inappropriate,” Shaw said of the emails.
The alleged workplace misconduct came more than a decade before Microsoft’s board reportedly received a letter in 2019 from a female Microsoft engineer who said she had an affair with Gates. As directors investigated the allegations, Gates resigned from the board last year and announced he was divorcing his wife Melinda this May.
Gates has since admitted that the divorce was his fault, The Post first reported. The duo were seen together for the first time since their divorce over the weekend at their daughter Jennifer’s wedding.