Bloomberg’s a “Toxic Sexually Charged Nightmare” According to Women
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire publisher and former mayor of New York City, has a me-too problem. It’s not that he had been accused of groping women or demanding sexual favors in return for employment and advancement. However, some of the things Bloomberg has said to female subordinates have proven to be problematic, to put the matter mildly.
For example, Business Insider reports that upon hearing that a female subordinate was pregnant, Bloomberg had some unsettling advice for her.
“Billionaire presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg once remarked that a pregnant employee at his company should “kill it” upon learning that she was pregnant, a former Bloomberg employee told The Washington Post. While the particular allegation has previously been reported as it was the subject of a highly publicized lawsuit against Bloomberg in 1997, a former Bloomberg employee who wasn’t involved in that lawsuit said he heard Bloomberg make the comments.”
Court documents reveal that Bloomberg suggested an abortion on April 11, 1995, to a salesperson named Sekiko Sakai Garrison. He also muttered, “Great! Number 16!” Bloomberg was frustrated by the fact that 16 of the women who worked for his company were on maturity status and were thus unable to work full time for him.
Bloomberg denied under oath that he had ever made the comment. However, he settled with Garrison for an undisclosed amount. Before the lawsuit, Bloomberg had made a written half non-apology that stated that he was sorry for “what she had heard” but denying that he had said that she should abort her baby.
The UK Daily Mail relates another incident that took place in 1993 in which Bloomberg had some disquieting advice for a female subordinate who has trying to find daycare for her newborn infant. The incident is the subject of another lawsuit.
“It’s a f***ing baby! All it does is eat and s**t! It doesn’t know the difference between you and anyone else! All you need is some black who doesn’t have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building, Bloomberg said in July 1993 to a female salesperson who’d just had a baby, according to the lawsuit.”
The woman in question responded by bursting into tears.
The two incidents are part of a pattern of Bloomberg’s demeaning and misogynist comments toward women who worked for him that have been documented by court filings and the media over the years. Business Insider also alleged that Bloomberg tolerated a “toxic sexually charged nightmare” in which male employees targeted their female counterparts for sexual favors. This kind of behavior has been the subject of numerous lawsuits, including two instances of sexual assault.
A spokesperson for Bloomberg downplayed the reports, suggesting that “In any large organization, there are going to be complaints — but Mike has never tolerated any kind of discrimination or harassment, and he’s created cultures that are all about equality and inclusion.”
The renewed reports of sexism on the part of Bloomberg and his alleged tolerance of sexual harassment is likely to show up on the campaign trail as an issue. Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway has already suggested that Bloomberg has done and said worse things than anything President Trump has been accused of doing, including the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Conway suggested that the world will be hearing more of Bloomberg’s problematic behavior as the campaign grinds on.
Pete Buttigieg, on the other hand, told Fox News that there was “no comparison” between Bloomberg’s behavior and that of President Trump. However, he also said, according to Vanity Fair, “I think he’s going to have to answer for that and speak to it.” The critique is considered to be somewhat mild, considering the fact the Bloomberg is running for the same prize that Buttigieg is, the office of the president of the United States.
Bloomberg is running an unusual campaign, using his considerable wealth to carpet bomb the airwaves and social media and building up a formidable ground organization. But he has yet, as of this writing, to participate in a debate and will not be on the ballot until Super Tuesday on March 3. Whether or not these advantages will be enough to overcome persistent reports of sexism and racism, related to the Stop and Frisk policy, remains to be seen.