Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates finalize divorce, court document shows

Business

The Guardian 02 August, 2021 - 06:21pm 70 views

Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates have gotten divorced after 27 years of marriage. A Monday filing with the King County Superior Court of Washington made the move official, three months after the couple announced their plan to split up.

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates were among the most prominent couples in global business, having once worked together. They traveled together and participated in joint media interviews. Melinda French Gates had been uncomfortable with her husband's connection with billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein, and after media outlets published details on the bond between the two men, she hired divorce lawyers, the New York Times reported in May.

Monday's filing says neither spouse asked for a name change, but it doesn't give insight into everything that will be changing. A separation contract was not filed with the court.

While the two have agreed to keep working together on philanthropy, it's possible that collaboration will also end along with the marriage. Last month the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where the two are co-chairs and trustees, said Melinda French Gates will resign if after two years either of the two concludes that they cannot work together.

Bill Gates started Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975 and Gates served as CEO, and Melinda French Gates worked at Microsoft from 1987 to 1996. The two met in 1987 and were married in 1994, and their foundation launched in 2000.

In 2019 Microsoft received a report that Bill Gates had tried to start an intimate relationship with an employee in 2000, and a board committee ran an investigation with help from a law firm, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC earlier. Gates left Microsoft's board in early 2020, but a spokesperson for Bill Gates told the New York Times that his decision to step down was not related to the affair.

Today Bill Gates is the world's fourth wealthiest person, with a $152 billion net worth, according to Bloomberg. Since the Gateses said they would be going their separate ways, filings show that Bill Gates' holding company Cascade Investment has transferred Autonation and Deere shares to Melinda French Gates.

Melinda French Gates has recently been active in philanthropy related to gender equality, alongside MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos.

WATCH: Gates Foundation outlines post-divorce contingency plans

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Read full article at The Guardian

Ladies, Bill Gates Is Back on the Market

Gawker 02 August, 2021 - 03:33pm

The exact details of who’s getting what is not immediately clear, as the former couple signed a “separation contract” that was not filed in court. However, if we assume they’re going to split Bill’s wealth down the middle, each of them will emerge with $61.5 billion. That will take Bill out of the top ten richest people on the planet, but immediately shoot Melinda to the top five richest women in the world.

Moving on. Being a billionaire’s second wife is a dream job, but not one for which we were all cut out. If you want to be Bill’s next wife, here are a few things you can do to increase your odds.

Bill and Melinda were America’s top farmland owners as of 2020, so it might behoove you to have a couple talking points about farms up your sleeve when Bill takes you out on your first date. Maybe talk about how beautiful rolling fields of wheat are, or the magic of seeing a foal being born. I doubt he has ever done any work on his farms, but he will be impressed with your quaint, pastoral knowledge.

Do not bring up anything made within the last century, but do brush up on Winslow Homer’s many portraits of men at sea. Bill owns one of those, and is probably into all other kinds of dad art. Paintings of landscapes, men on horses, portraits of women who look uncomfortable, that kind of thing. Again, do not bring up anything that even comes close to being contemporary. If you want to play it extra safe, you can tell him you think Kaws is a hack. He will not know what you’re talking about, but he will know you have thoughts on art, and he’ll love that.

Bill’s friendly relationship with the late pedophile is said to be what finally drove Melinda to a divorce. If anything even close to Epstein comes up (islands, Manhattan mansions, flight logs), change the conversation immediately. If anyone ever mentions him directly, pretend you have no idea who he is. Bill will appreciate a woman who isn’t going to judge him for being chummy with a sexual predator.

Armed with my tips and your own winning personality, you are all set to bag a billionaire. If Grimes can do it, you can too. So girlies, pack your bags and buy a one-way ticket to Seattle because your dream man is out there waiting for you.

Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney could change Hollywood forever | Clémence Michallon

Daily Mail 30 July, 2021 - 01:23am

To recap: Disney released Black Widow, a Marvel blockbuster centering around Johansson’s character in the Avengers franchise, on July 9 in the US. That American release took place simultaneously in movie theaters and on the streaming platform Disney+.

Streaming releases became more common during the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down cinemas for months. Now that they have started to reopen, studios will have to decide how much they want to prioritize theatrical releases and how badly they want to hold on to streaming releases. Not everyone is going to agree on which way is best. Cue Johansson’s lawsuit.

The suit, filed on Thursday in Los Angeles, alleges that Johansson’s earnings for Black Widow were “based largely” on the movie’s box office performance. “To maximize these receipts, and thereby protect her financial interests, Ms Johansson extracted a promise from Marvel that the release of the Picture would be a ‘theatrical release,’” the lawsuit reads in part. “As Ms Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and most everyone else in Hollywood knows, a ‘theatrical release’ is a release that is exclusive to movie theaters.”

It continues: “Disney was well aware of this promise, but nonetheless directed Marvel to violate its pledge and instead release the Picture on the Disney+ streaming service the very same day it was released in movie theaters.” In other words, Johansson is alleging that Disney violated her contract and went against her financial interests in releasing the film on its streaming platform and in cinemas on the same day, since her earnings were tied specifically to the success of Black Widow’s theatrical release.

Disney’s response to the suit came late Thursday and was strident: “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20m she has received to date.” Johansson’s lawyer, John Berlinski, gave an equally forceful statement in response, saying: “It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney+ to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price – and that it’s hiding behind Covid-19 as a pretext to do so.”

It’s clear the Cinemas v Streaming face-off has begun, and it’s going to rage for a long time. Much like Zoom meetings and ring lights, streaming releases became staples during the pandemic, when few alternative options existed. Disney chose to unveil one of its biggest releases of 2020, the Mulan live-action remake, on Disney+ for a premium fee. It came out in late March last year, not long after most of the US went into lockdown, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who found sitting down to watch a new film with my family a welcome, simple comfort during a difficult time.

But what began as a contingency measure has turned into a long-term investment for some studios. Warner Bros, for example (which is separate from Disney and isn’t involved in the Black Widow dispute) has brokered an agreement with HBO Max to release all of its 2021 films online on the same day they come out in cinemas across the US. This includes such highly anticipated releases as Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, The Matrix 4, and the Sopranos sequel The Many Saints of Newark.

I’m not privy to Johansson’s contract, and so I have no opinion on her specific situation. It’s the broader conversation on whether streaming releases are the future or the source of all evil that I find captivating. I love movie theaters dearly and I don’t plan on staying away from them forever. I love the big screen. I love sitting in the dark. I love snacks. But realistically, I don’t think streaming releases are going anywhere. Like face masks and ubiquitous hand sanitizer, this is most likely part of a new normal.

The way the conversation has played out so far is reminiscent of the chatter a few years ago about whether streaming companies like Netflix should be allowed to compete for the Oscars. The debate raged on, and guess what: Netflix is now a staple on the Academy Awards nominations list. Alfonso Cuarón even won Best Director for his film Roma, which was released in 2018 on the streaming platform.

This isn’t necessarily an either/or situation. I doubt streaming releases will hail the end of movie theaters any more than e-readers hailed the end of physical books (they didn’t). Recent history shows that when given a choice between two formats, consumers will pick the one that best suits their particular requirements, but rarely will they stick exclusively to one option. I read as much as I can in a given week. I have an e-reader. I also have bookshelves buckling under the weight of the many hardcovers and paperbacks I apparently can’t resist purchasing whenever I find myself within a two-mile radius of a bookstore.

And this isn’t just about studios and audiences. As Johansson’s lawsuit makes clear, this is new territory for actors too. They’re having to deal with this brave new world and the myriad of consequences it may have on their careers. Clearly, there are going to be bumps along the way.

Now that going to the movies is an option again, Hollywood has choices to make. Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney will serve as a crucial barometer for the industry. This is a movie — and a cultural debate — I know I’ll be watching.

Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney could change Hollywood forever | Clémence Michallon

PEOPLE 30 July, 2021 - 01:23am

To recap: Disney released Black Widow, a Marvel blockbuster centering around Johansson’s character in the Avengers franchise, on July 9 in the US. That American release took place simultaneously in movie theaters and on the streaming platform Disney+.

Streaming releases became more common during the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down cinemas for months. Now that they have started to reopen, studios will have to decide how much they want to prioritize theatrical releases and how badly they want to hold on to streaming releases. Not everyone is going to agree on which way is best. Cue Johansson’s lawsuit.

The suit, filed on Thursday in Los Angeles, alleges that Johansson’s earnings for Black Widow were “based largely” on the movie’s box office performance. “To maximize these receipts, and thereby protect her financial interests, Ms Johansson extracted a promise from Marvel that the release of the Picture would be a ‘theatrical release,’” the lawsuit reads in part. “As Ms Johansson, Disney, Marvel, and most everyone else in Hollywood knows, a ‘theatrical release’ is a release that is exclusive to movie theaters.”

It continues: “Disney was well aware of this promise, but nonetheless directed Marvel to violate its pledge and instead release the Picture on the Disney+ streaming service the very same day it was released in movie theaters.” In other words, Johansson is alleging that Disney violated her contract and went against her financial interests in releasing the film on its streaming platform and in cinemas on the same day, since her earnings were tied specifically to the success of Black Widow’s theatrical release.

Disney’s response to the suit came late Thursday and was strident: “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing. The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Disney has fully complied with Ms Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20m she has received to date.” Johansson’s lawyer, John Berlinski, gave an equally forceful statement in response, saying: “It’s no secret that Disney is releasing films like Black Widow directly onto Disney+ to increase subscribers and thereby boost the company’s stock price – and that it’s hiding behind Covid-19 as a pretext to do so.”

It’s clear the Cinemas v Streaming face-off has begun, and it’s going to rage for a long time. Much like Zoom meetings and ring lights, streaming releases became staples during the pandemic, when few alternative options existed. Disney chose to unveil one of its biggest releases of 2020, the Mulan live-action remake, on Disney+ for a premium fee. It came out in late March last year, not long after most of the US went into lockdown, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who found sitting down to watch a new film with my family a welcome, simple comfort during a difficult time.

But what began as a contingency measure has turned into a long-term investment for some studios. Warner Bros, for example (which is separate from Disney and isn’t involved in the Black Widow dispute) has brokered an agreement with HBO Max to release all of its 2021 films online on the same day they come out in cinemas across the US. This includes such highly anticipated releases as Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, The Matrix 4, and the Sopranos sequel The Many Saints of Newark.

I’m not privy to Johansson’s contract, and so I have no opinion on her specific situation. It’s the broader conversation on whether streaming releases are the future or the source of all evil that I find captivating. I love movie theaters dearly and I don’t plan on staying away from them forever. I love the big screen. I love sitting in the dark. I love snacks. But realistically, I don’t think streaming releases are going anywhere. Like face masks and ubiquitous hand sanitizer, this is most likely part of a new normal.

The way the conversation has played out so far is reminiscent of the chatter a few years ago about whether streaming companies like Netflix should be allowed to compete for the Oscars. The debate raged on, and guess what: Netflix is now a staple on the Academy Awards nominations list. Alfonso Cuarón even won Best Director for his film Roma, which was released in 2018 on the streaming platform.

This isn’t necessarily an either/or situation. I doubt streaming releases will hail the end of movie theaters any more than e-readers hailed the end of physical books (they didn’t). Recent history shows that when given a choice between two formats, consumers will pick the one that best suits their particular requirements, but rarely will they stick exclusively to one option. I read as much as I can in a given week. I have an e-reader. I also have bookshelves buckling under the weight of the many hardcovers and paperbacks I apparently can’t resist purchasing whenever I find myself within a two-mile radius of a bookstore.

And this isn’t just about studios and audiences. As Johansson’s lawsuit makes clear, this is new territory for actors too. They’re having to deal with this brave new world and the myriad of consequences it may have on their careers. Clearly, there are going to be bumps along the way.

Now that going to the movies is an option again, Hollywood has choices to make. Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney will serve as a crucial barometer for the industry. This is a movie — and a cultural debate — I know I’ll be watching.

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