When is having sex with the boss a good idea? (Melinda and MacKenzie)

We are informed that sex between a high-income senior worker at a company and a lower-income junior worker is bad. Yet MacKenzie Scott, then a secretary (“administrative assistant”) at D.E. Shaw, turned sex with Jeff Bezos, a vice-president at the firm, into a multi-$billion fortune. And recently we’ve learned that Melinda Gates, who had sex with the founder/CEO at her employer (Microsoft), will soon join the ranks of strong independent female billionaires. Nobody is saying that it was a mistake for these women to have sex with their respective bosses. Nor is anyone criticizing the bosses for having sex with subordinates and then paying them $billions.

(What if the boss is already married and only “high income” rather than rich? Sex with the boss can still be far more lucrative than continuing to work, depending on the state (see Real World Divorce for each state’s child support formula and this calculation of how much better Ellen Pao would have done by having sex with her boss compared to suing Kleiner Perkins).)

How are people supposed to distinguish between bad-sex-at-the-office and good-sex-at-the-office?

An immigrant friend has been writing about Melinda Gates pulling the ripcord. A sampling:

[14-year-old] read Bill Gates’ divorce tweet and reacted: I so hate it how Americans always describe these things in this annoying sugary way: “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple” or “we’re no longer a perfect match.” A Russian woman would have said directly: “He got boring” or “He is crazy, I don’t want to deal with him anymore” or “he is running out of money” or “screw him, I am out of here.” In fact, I don’t think any European would talk like Americans do. They wouldn’t probably even say anything because who cares?

I am anticipating a firehose of stories: “Melinda Gates is the real founder of Microsoft, while Bill with the rest of the white men took all the credit”, “Melinda breaks the next layer of the glass ceiling in philanthropy”, “The rising tide of female billionaires: here is how divorce can empower you too”.

From a U.S.-born friend:

So I heard Bill Gates is having a massive parasite removed. The surgical process should cost about 65 billion dollars.

The actual complaint for divorce (“petition” in Washington State) filed by Melinda Gates:


19 thoughts on “When is having sex with the boss a good idea? (Melinda and MacKenzie)

  1. Their divorce statement killed the remnant of sympathy that I still felt to Bill Gates – it was one of the worst examples of office-eze that I ever heard. Definitely the worst in that past 20 years

  2. If memory serves, Ellen Pao sued because she _did_ have sex with her boss, and then didn’t get the promotion she was promised. She was already married to someone else at the time, which might have limited her ability to extract child support. Or else she just didn’t think of it–she obviously isn’t that smart, since she didn’t insist on payment up front.

    • Ms. Pao didn’t have sex with the most senior partner at Kleiner. And she failed to become pregnant (Clomiphene could have been her best financial friend!). But as long as she obtained at least partial custody of any child produced from an at-work pregnancy with the big boss, she would have been on track to obtain child support far more lucrative than what she earned via W-2 wages. Her own marital status or that of her defendant wouldn’t matter.

  3. It was fun listening to the WAMC morning roundtable attempt to cover this today. Relevant comments from President and CEO Alan Chartock were that, sure, more than half of Americans get divorced, so even after all this time it’s not so unusual (but he has no plans to get divorced from his wife of more than 50 years) and instead he said: “They had a good run! And congratulations to them of all they’ve done and all they’re going to do.” and wished them well.

    I wonder how much Bill & Melinda donate to NPR? One hypothesis was that while both Bill & Melinda’s philanthropy would continue, they expected Melinda to be more “progressive” in her donations.

    The best and most shocking comments came from sourpuss UAlbany Adjunct Professor Rosemary Armao, who in my opinion is so roiling and fulminating with rage over *everything* that she’s almost a danger to herself, and she pulled no punches: “This makes me think that MARRIAGE IS DOOMED.” She went on to list the reasons why: They have so much money and success, meaningful work together, three “wonderful and successful children”, and if they had sex problems they could afford the best therapists in the world, etc., etc., and it’s just that Marriage itself is a dying Institution being kept on life support by old fuddyduddies. Lifelong couplehood is not the norm. Chartoff said he was “very, very lucky” even though his case wasn’t the norm.

    (She got divorced after 34 something years of marriage…in my opinion anyone who lasted more than 34 minutes married to Rosemary Armao deserved a purple heart and an honorary discharge.)

    Anyway, nobody had the guts to respond to her with: “Yeah, but Rosemary, there’s that $65 billion dollars she’s getting.”

    Listen in, starting at 1:13:00 here.


    Listen in!

    • Oh, and of course, nobody broached the subject of whether sleeping with the boss for the purposes of financial gain was “the norm” or “permissible” or “absolutely forbidden and worth sending someone to prison for.” That sailed right by.

  4. For the sake of the climate, they should stay together. Two separate billionaire households harm the environment more than one.

    French-Gates union was different than the Bezos-Scott union. Gates was already rich and famous when they married, French is as homely as her husband. Scott is much better looking than Bezos, has much better breeding and married him when he was just a mid-level finance guy. Scott was in Amazon from the start. She knows where the bodies are buried because she helped bury them.

    The great question is what made the great Bill Gates marry plain ordinary old Marilyn French? There must be more to the woman than we give her credit for.

  5. Every employer, manager, and supervisor should follow the old Italian saying on sexual relationships in the workplace: “don’t shit where you eat” (from the great movie “Moonstruck”).

    (Tech-billionaire Oracle CEO Larry Elision also tried sleeping with his staff, ending in a multi-million$ payout).

  6. In the divorce settlement I wonder which one will get the vaccine liability? If not strict liability, the blame when the bodies hit the floor.

  7. It was probably triggered by the new capital gains tax rather than anything else. Can’t realize much of $65 billion while staying below the $1 million bracket.

    Bill’s shares are going to be worth a lot less next year. Too bad the end result of all the heady days of Microsoft from the 1970’s to the 1990’s had to evaporate in a typical divorce settlement.

  8. So Melinda filed for the divorce? Interesting.

    Their youngest child is age 18. This suggests that Melinda may have wanted out for several years, but waited for the kids to leave the house.

  9. Scott had her teeth straightened out, making her mouth wider. Her limbs are magnificent. Her neck is like a gazelle’s. I hope and expect that her fuller bosom is the result of motherhood, and not the surgeon’s knife. Her trimness and litheness of manner are not something the surgeon can improve upon. Even her knees are unobjectionable — the ultimate testament to a well formed figure of a woman. Were you to propose the model of a tall, trim androgyne, zir/zim/zhe’s name would be Mckenzie Scott.

    She could still get her pick of men without a penny. The jacked up dad bod Bezos presents a caricature of the cuckolded executive, frolicking with his hoochie mama and her extortionist brother(!). I like to imagine that all the National Enquirer stories were deliberately planted by Bezos, with Scott’s connivance, to distract from a long history of Scott’s indiscretions.. I couch all this in the language of speculation to make clear that I have no evidence for this beyond what is plainly available to the public and my own conjecture — this is fiction.


    But as fiction, I would much rather consider Scott as a sort of Anais Nin throughout the years of their marriage, exploring the burgeoning de-constructions of sexual expression and gender identity in the Pacific Northwest. It would be ludicrous to consider that a woman of her appearance, fully engaged with the fluid mating structures of her time and place, would not have naturally attracted female lovers in the Sapphic tradition. Now the fiction is much more alluring and simultaneously compliments the figure so fictionalized. Here’s the best thing about fiction, and it’s what makes fiction so great, is that you can imagine, in all likelihood of possibility, Bezos being the distracted cuckold, who has fathered less children than Mckenzie has birthed, of his utter sexual nothingness, that to describe him as asexual would not be sufficient to fully describe his drive to obey and understand his wife’s only need of him is to build her a great business empire, to make her the center of the literary world, and to have no sexual contact with her except to conceive children and to examine the remnants of her lover’s affections. Certainly Scott penetrated Bezos more frequently, and to his great pleasure, than the converse coital arrangement.

    /end nsfw

    Consider Bezos as Hephaestus, and Mckenzie as Aphrodite. Who could object to such a caricature?

  10. Ah, yes, divorce . . . from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet.~ Robin Williams

  11. “Meanwhile, Melinda, 56, has increasingly built her profile as a champion of women and girls. The former tech business executive launched her private Pivotal Ventures investment and incubation company in 2015 and recently partnered with Mackenzie Scott (Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife) for a newly announced equity challenge.” (from https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/bill-and-melinda-gates-divorce-hearing). Nothing like money netted from a divorce to qualify a woman to be a role model.

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