US Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg said Friday that he’s willing to release at least three women from non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from speaking publicly about sexual harassment or discrimination suits filed against him and his company over the last three decades.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against his company over the years. Bloomberg said his company has identified “3 NDAs that we signed over the past 30-plus years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made.
“If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release,” Bloomberg wrote in a statement released Friday.
He added: “I’ve done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days and I’ve decided that for as long as I’m running the company, we won’t offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward.”
Bloomberg LP has identified 3 NDAs signed over the past 30+ years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made.
If any of them want to be released from their NDAs, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release. https://t.co/bO9JpvSx1T
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 21, 2020
Bloomberg was attacked repeatedly this week in his debut debate for declining to release women from the nondisclosure agreements. The former New York City mayor was caught flat-footed during much of Wednesday night’s debate when rival Elizabeth Warren blasted his company’s use of non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual harassment. She sought to portray such agreements as endemic of a broader culture of sexism at the company, Bloomberg LP, when he was CEO.
Bloomberg’s response was dismissive. He said some of those who alleged misconduct “didn’t like a joke I told” and argued that nondisclosure agreements were “consensual” deals supported by the women involved.
A number of current and former employees have spoken out in defence of Bloomberg, and said his promotion of women and advocacy on women’s issues has long been one of his strengths. Bloomberg himself noted on the debate stage that he has employed and elevated many women to positions of leadership within his organisation and his mayoral administration. He appointed the first woman to serve as deputy mayor, and has donated tens of millions of dollars to organisations promoting women’s reproductive rights and other women’s rights efforts.
Fatima Shamah, who currently serves on the campaign as national director overseeing coalitions and constituencies and worked in the Bloomberg administration from 2006 until he left office, said he made clear in his administration that women “were all clear partners in the work that we were doing”. She suggested a few incidents that occurred at Bloomberg LP, which employs thousands of people globally, were “wrongly layered onto Mike”.