- For years, Bill Gates has forged a nerdy, likable public image, largely through his philanthropy.
- This persona made him more relatable compared with more outspoken, eccentric billionaires.
- But new reports of advances toward employees and links to Jeffrey Epstein indicate a darker side.
For decades, Bill Gates has crafted the public persona of a nerdy but pleasant philanthropist. In contrast with the likes of Tesla’s Elon Musk and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Gates was likable, relatable, nonthreatening.
Gates continued to cultivate this personality – pledging to give away half his wealth through The Giving Pledge and investing heavily in healthcare and addressing the climate crisis through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – as his money multiplied.
But new reports about the tech founder in the wake of his pending divorce from his wife of 27 years offer a less flattering picture of the man. Reports from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal indicate Gates, at times, treated the workplace like a pickup spot, making advances toward women who worked for him.
Several employees told The Times he engaged in “clumsy” and “questionable” workplace behavior. They also said he could be “dismissive” of his wife and overly “dominant” in Gates Foundation meetings, even though the organization was working on several women’s-empowerment initiatives.
An ‘uncomfortable’ workplace
The idea that Gates viewed the workplace as a trawling ground for dates may not come as a surprise, considering the origins of his marriage. Gates met and began dating Melinda French in 1987 after she took a job as a marketing manager at Microsoft.
They met at a work dinner at a conference, and Gates was smitten. He used connections his mother had at Duke University (French’s alma mater) to look into French’s background, and then, after she repeatedly rebuffed him, finally went on a date. She left the company in 1996, two years after they got married, to focus on raising a family.
People in technology who watched Gates do everything possible to cheat Apple Computer, with a far better product, out of market share have known all along the truth about Gates.