Tech titan Bill Gates shocked the world earlier this year by announcing that he and his longtime wife Melinda were getting a divorce.
New information about their separation has continued to surface in subsequent months, including details of an alleged extramarital affair and flirtations with at least one woman who worked for the company he founded.
“Deemed to be inappropriate”
According to the Washington Examiner, the power couple had been experiencing marital tension for more than a decade, dating back to 2007 when Bill Gates, who founded Microsoft, began pursuing an employee.
He was reportedly confronted by Microsoft executives who instructed him to call off the budding affair. The optics of an adulterous relationship would not only harm Gates’ reputation but could cause problems for the company.
For his part, Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw said that the messages Gates sent the woman “were not overtly sexual but were deemed to be inappropriate.”
Additional reports indicate that Gates has been linked to other extramarital relationships, though his spokesperson has shot down such speculation.
“These claims are false, recycled rumors from sources who have no direct knowledge, and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest,” said Bridgitt Arnold.
Gates’ reputation could be on the line
Although the divorce has since been finalized, Gates could have other reasons for vociferously denying rumors of his infidelity — particularly allegations that he pursued Microsoft employees.
In the #MeToo era, powerful men like Gates must tread carefully. Furthermore, hitting on subordinates has long been a dealbreaker on the left, so the prominent progressive could be attempting to salvage his reputation.
While so-called cancel culture is a common complaint within conservative circles, Gates could become the latest leftist to see his image tarnished on social media if he is seen as a serial philanderer.
Once-influential men who have seen their reputations sullied under similar circumstances offer evidence that not even billions of dollars in the bank would be enough to prevent Gates from meeting the same fate.
His marriage might be over, but the related rumors and revelations provide plenty of fodder for future news coverage. It remains to be seen if former Microsoft employees or others with close ties to the prominent philanthropist will weigh in on the continuing saga.