Microsoft’s Alex Kipman resigns after being accused of watching ‘VR porn’ in office: report

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Microsoft’s virtual reality chief Alex Kipman has resigned from his role at the company – days after reports surfaced that he had watched “VR porn” in front of workers and engaged in other forms of misconduct toward female employees.

Scott Guthrie, the head of Microsoft’s cloud and artificial intelligence division, revealed Kipman’s departure in an email to employees Tuesday while detailing a reorganization within the company. Kipman also informed his subordinates that he was leaving the company.

“Over the last several months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team’s path going forward,” Guthrie said in his email obtained by Insider, which first reported on Kipman’s departure. “We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.

“I appreciate the tremendous vision Alex has provided to Microsoft over the years, and all that he has done to advance our Metaverse offerings. Alex is committed to helping the teams with the transition process over the next two months and ensuring success before pursuing what is next for him,” Guthrie added.

Guthrie’s email did not address the allegations of misconduct against Kipman, which were first revealed in a sweeping Insider report detailing alleged “toxic” behavior by Microsoft executives.

Alex Kipman headed up Microsoft’s HoloLens project.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

The article detailed an incident in which Kipman used a pair of virtual reality goggles to watch a scene in which “several young women in skimpy clothing frolicked on a bed” and had an “overtly sexualized pillow fight” in a room while employees were present.

One employee told the outlet that the scene was “VR porn” and described the incident as “incredibly uncomfortable,” with at least two workers leaving the room.

“It was in the office, in front of women,” the employee said. 

Insider cited current and former Microsoft workers who allege that Kipman did not face disciplinary action despite complaints about unwanted touching and other forms of inappropriate conduct in the office.

The situation grew so concerning that more than 25 employees purportedly submitted details as part of a report to management about Kipman’s conduct.

Insider’s report referenced the allegations against Kipman as an example of the failure of Microsoft’s leadership to crack down on executive misbehavior.

Microsoft representatives did not immediately return a request for comment on Kipman’s resignation. But company officials responded to Insider’s past report that included the claims against Kipman.

“Every reported claim we receive is investigated, and for every claim found substantiated there is clear action taken,” the company said at the time. “This disciplinary action can range from termination, to demotion, loss of pay or bonus, official reprimand, mandatory training, coaching, or combination of some of these.”

A source told Insider that Kipman will remain in his post until Microsoft completes its planned restructuring.

As part of the re-organization, Microsoft’s mixed reality hardware teams, including the team responsible for the “HoloLens” headset initiative, will be overseen by chief product officer Panos Panay. Software teams working on mixed reality efforts will report to executive Jeff Teper.

Claims of executive misconduct at Microsoft have reached as high as co-founder Bill Gates.

In January, Microsoft ordered an outside law firm to conduct a probe of its handling of sexual harassment allegations, including claims that Gates engaged in inappropriate behavior toward female subordinates while working at the company.



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