AceShowbiz - Bill Gates is doing some damage control as he continues to be portrayed in a bad light following his divorce announcement from Melinda Gates. In a recent report, the business magnate was accused of creating "uncomfortable workplace environment" for years, a claim which he has now denied.
"The claim of mistreatment of employees is also false," a rep for Bill says in a statement to PEOPLE. "The rumors and speculation surrounding Gates's divorce are becoming increasingly absurd, and it's unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge of the situation are being characterized as 'sources.' "
In the statement, the rep also touches on reports about Bill's ties to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. "[The New York Times'] characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated," the rep stresses, adding, "Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false."
The statement is made in response to The New York Times' article in which the publication claimed that Bill had a reputation for pursuing women who worked for him, both at Microsoft and at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, something which allegedly created "uncomfortable workplace environment."
In one occasion in 2006, Bill reportedly attended a presentation by a female employee and then allegedly emailed her asking her to dinner. "If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened," he reportedly wrote in the email.
In a separate occasion that allegedly took place years later, she was traveling to New York for a work trip with a female employee when he allegedly told her at a cocktail party, "I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?" The woman said his request made her uncomfortable.
On the same day of the NY Times' report, the Wall Street Journal published a story about Bill's affair with a Microsoft engineer that lasted for years before his split from Melinda. While acknowledging the affair, he denied that it led to his decision to resign from the company's board in 2019.
"There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably," his spokeswoman stated, adding that his "decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier."
Bill and Melinda announced their decision to divorce on May 3 after 27 years of marriage. Words are Melinda hired divorce attorneys in 2019 after his ties to Jeffrey Epstein were made public.