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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."

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Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
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Bill Gates was told to stop emailing a female Microsoft employee in 2008 after the exchange was deemed inappropriate. 

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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."