The Wall Street Journal has reported that women seeking employment at Gates Ventures, the private office of billionaire Bill Gates, were subject to a rigorous screening process that included sexually explicit questions. The screenings were conducted by Concentric Advisors, a security firm, and covered personal aspects of the candidates’ lives, including “their sexual histories, past drug use, and other private life aspects that could potentially make them susceptible to blackmail.”
Invasive questions about “their involvement in extramarital affairs, their preferences in pornography, and whether they had any nude photographs of themselves on their phones” were also reportedly part of the process. Gates Ventures disclaimed knowledge of such practices, with a spokesperson stating: “This line of questioning would be unacceptable and a violation of Gates Ventures’ agreement with the contractor.”
In response to the allegations, Concentric Advisors defended their practices, stating their protocols comply with all applicable laws, and the primary goal was to uncover any potential blackmail risk for those working closely with Bill Gates. However, the process has drawn criticism from employment lawyers and security consultants who suggest that such practices might violate state and federal employment discrimination laws.
Carol Miaskoff, legal counsel of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, warned: “any questions about a candidate’s health or psychiatric history before a job offer is just flat out prohibited by the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.”
Critics have pointed out the irony that Gates himself may not pass the screening. Microsoft executives reportedly warned Gates to stop pestering female employees with flirty emails in 2008, after they discovered inappropriate exchanges between Gates and a mid-level female employee.
Furthermore, Gates’ personal behavior and close relationship with Jeffrey Epstein have been scrutinized. Microsoft insiders referred to Gates as an “office bully” for pursuing affairs with women in the office, and his relationship with Epstein, which he continually tries to downplay, has caused controversy, particularly when Epstein funded a coding course for a young Russian woman with whom Gates had an affair.
According to Breitbart News, Gates first contacted the woman in 2010 when she was in her 20s. She later met Epstein in 2013 and subsequently attended the coding school funded by Epstein, who in 2017 asked Gates for reimbursement for the cost of the course.