Mike Bloomberg Comes Under Fire For Alleged Past Sexist Comments
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is under scrutiny again as several allegations against him resurfaced. Bloomberg addressed these allegations, tweeting last weekend, “I will always be a champion for women in the workplace.”
I would not be where I am today without the talented women around me. I’ve depended on their leadership, their advice and their contributions. As I’ve demonstrated throughout my career, I will always be a champion for women in the workplace. https://t.co/WU2FqULgdU
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 15, 2020
This comes after a report by the Washington Post on Saturday that highlighted several allegations that Bloomberg fostered an unsafe environment for women during the late 1980s and 1990s. The report cited lawsuits obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and witness interviews. All lawsuits were either settled, dismissed in his favor, or closed due to failure to meet filing deadlines.
A Bloomberg spokesperson said in a statement, “Virtually all of this has been reported over the past two decades. In any large organization, there are going to be complaints — but Mike simply does not tolerate any kind of discrimination or harassment, and he’s created cultures that are all about equality and inclusion.”
Sekiko Sakai Garrison, a former sales executive, sued Bloomberg and his company in 1997. According to court documents, the suit claimed men were “engaged in a pattern and practice of sexual harassment, sexual degradation of women, and discrimination.” The suit also claimed Bloomberg himself made crude comments women, including telling her to “kill it” when he learned she was pregnant.
David Zielenziger, a former Bloomberg employee who witnessed the interaction, told the Post that Bloomberg’s behavior toward Garrison was “outrageous. I understood why she took offense.” The former mayor has denied these allegations under oath.
The existence of pamphlet of sexist quotes attributed to Bloomberg first reported by the New York Magazine in 2001. Bloomberg’s campaign spokesperson Stu Loeser said in response to the pamphlet, “Mike simply did not say the things somebody wrote in this gag gift, which has been circulating for 30 years and has been quoted in every previous election Mike has been in.” He added, “Mike openly admits that his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life and some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong.”
Bloomberg’s campaign chair Patricia Harris said in a statement, “He has always treated women with respect and created work environments where women are on equal footing and can succeed professionally and personally.”
“In industries long dominated by men, Mike believes that having women leaders is crucial to any organization’s success, and he has backed up that belief with his hiring and promotion practices, as well as his benefit policies,” she added.