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Microsoft told Bill Gates to stop emailing female employee in 2008

A Gates spokesperson dismissed the claims as "false, recycled rumors."

Bill Gates Getty
Bill Gates was told to stop emailing a female Microsoft employee in 2008 after the exchange was deemed inappropriate. 
Getty Images for All In WA

Microsoft executives told company co-founder Bill Gates to stop sending "inappropriate" emails to a female employee in 2008, the company confirmed via email following a Wall Street Journal report Monday. The Journal previously reported that Gates left Microsoft's board in 2020 as the company investigated a separate, more recent relationship the billionaire allegedly had with an employee.

In May, Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they're getting a divorce after 27 years of marriage.

In 2008, then-general counsel Brad Smith (now Microsoft's president) and then-human resources boss Lisa Brummel (who's since retired) spoke with Gates about an email exchange between him and a female employee from the previous year, according to the Journal. Gates allegedly suggested meeting the employee outside of work.

A company spokesperson told the Journal that the emails weren't "overtly sexual," but they were deemed inappropriate. Gates reportedly agreed to stop sending such emails, and the employee never made a complaint. 

A Gates spokesperson denied the claims, dismissing them in a statement emailed to CNET as "false, recycled rumors from sources who have no direct knowledge, and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest."