Microsoft confirmed the Journal’s report to CNN Business but declined to comment. Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw told the Journal that “while flirtatious, [the emails] were not overtly sexual, but were deemed to be inappropriate,” and that the employee never made a complaint about the incident.
A spokeswoman for Gates, Bridgitt Arnold, denied the claims in a written statement to the Journal. “These claims are false, recycled rumors from sources who have no direct knowledge, and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest,” she said. Representatives for Gates’ did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CNN Business.
“Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business in May. “A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm, to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern.”
A spokesperson for Gates called the 2000 relationship “an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably,” in a statement to the Journal at the time and said the company’s investigation was unrelated to Gates’ decision to leave the board.