When it comes to technocrats, it seemed that Microsoft founder Bill Gates was, for years, considered Silicon Valley’s de facto, benevolent fairy godparent. A noted philanthropist, Gates and his stalwart reputation seemed almost infallible. But following the relatively recent news of his split with his wife, fellow philanthropist and public figure Melinda Gates, it appears that his reputation — and possibly his empire — is on the brink of a full-throttle topple. And according to a May 26 deep-dive published by The New York Times, an abstract structural collapse seems only more imminent.
While the focus of the NYT story honed in on Gates’ financial manager Michael Larson more so than Gates himself, the piece made it clear that Larson’s misdeeds — among which included allegations of misogyny, racist comments, misconduct, and bullying — were intrinsically tied to Gates. The reason? The fact that Gates put sole managerial custody of his net worth in the hands of Larson, and that Gates purportedly knew of Larson’s behavior all the while.
Following its investigation, the NYT posited in its exposé that Gates himself had exercised “reluctance to take decisive action at Cascade,” with regards to the pile of complaints against Larson, one which “adds to an emerging portrait of the billionaire philanthropist that is at odds with his image as a roving global do-gooder and champion of women’s empowerment.” Read on after the jump to find out more about the latest controversy.
Bill Gates might have turned a blind eye to misdeeds
Per The New York Times, six people, four of whom were designated employees for Michael Larson’s management firm Cascade Investment, went directly to Bill Gates with their specific issues. According to the newspaper, at least 10 individuals who once worked with the firm corroborated the accounts, as did a number of others who, per the NYT, were “familiar with the firm.”
The complaints included issues ranging from Larson reportedly “openly judg[ing] female employees on their attractiveness,” showing “colleagues nude photos of women,” making sexually-charged comments unfit for a work environment, and making at least one “racist remark to a Black employee.” Even worse, as the New York Post noted, Larson’s firm allegedly gave money to “at least seven people who knew about Larson’s behavior.”
Speaking with the NYT, Larson’s lawyer, Chris Giglio, stated the finance manager has overseen “over 380 people,” and cited that “fewer than five complaints” have been levied against him. In addition to this, Melinda Gates’ spokesperson told the newspaper that her client was “was unaware of most of these allegations given her lack of ownership of and control” with regards to the Gates’ investment group, Bill and Melinda Gates Investments (BMGI), which worked with Cascade. The former Microsoft CEO’s own spokesperson also told the NYT that BMGI “does not tolerate inappropriate behavior.”
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