Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made his first appearance on the Democratic debate stage last week, during which he was asked to face and explain the pile of accusations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination that have been mounted against him and his company for decades.
The questions about Bloomberg’s problematic record started from the top of the debate, after Massachusetts Sen. Elizbeth Warren utilized her opening statement to address Bloomberg’s misogynistic behavior, saying, “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians, and no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
Warren continued her interrogation later in the debate, bringing up the number of non-disclosure agreements signed by former women employees of Bloomberg’s company that he has refused to release them from. Bloomberg argued back that the NDAs–for which he failed to name how many–were a mutual agreement between his company and the women. This was not an adequate answer for Warren, who pressed on, asking what happens to the women who would now like to speak out about their troubling former work environments.
Warren rounded out her argument by comparing Bloomberg to current President Donald Trump, who has his own fair share of harassment and rape allegations.
“We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against.”Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Bloomberg’s history of sexual harassment, gender and pregnancy discrimination and the overseeing of a misognystic work place has resulted in his company, Bloomberg LP, receiving 40 discirimination and harassment lawsuits from 64 different employees over the past 20 years. On February 15, The Washington Post released an investigative report that detailed his behavior and the many stories from women who were witness to and victims of it. The reports are nothing short of disturbing.
One former employee, saleswoman Sekiko Sakai Garrison, alleged that Bloomberg told her to “kill it,” after she disclosed that she was pregnant. He denied these claims and later fired Garrison a few months later. Garrison reported that this kind of gender and pregnancy discrimination was popular in the hostile workplace, sharing one story in which Bloomberg yelled, “It’s a fucking baby! … All you need is some black who doesn’t have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building,” at a woman looking for a nanny.
Garrison also shared that, after a male employee got engaged, Bloomberg told women employees to, “line up to give him [oral sex] as a wedding present,” and that he once asked a recently hired sales associate, “If [clients] told you to lay down and strip naked so they could fuck you, would you do that too?”
In 2001, New York Magazine released a booklet given to Bloomberg at a 1990 office party called “The Portable Bloomberg: The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg,” which is chock-full of business mantras and explicit, allegedly verbatim sexist quotes heard from Bloomberg himself in the workplace. Some of the quotes included are, “I know for a fact that any self-respecting woman who walks past a construction site and doesn’t get a whistle will turn around and walk past again and again until she does get one,” and, “What a bunch of misfits — a gay, an architect, that horse-faced lesbian, and a kid who gave up Koo Stark for some fat broad,” in refernece to the British Royal Family.
Another former employee of Bloomberg’s, Mary Ann Olszewski, sued the company in 1996, alleging that the company, “took no steps to prevent or curtail the ongoing sexual harassment of female employees by Michael Bloomberg.” The toxic workplace allowed harassment to thrive and become normalized, resulting in Olszewski allegedly getting raped by a supervisor.
Bloomberg’s controversies don’t stop there. He has doubted the #MeToo movement in the past, and has a record of of transphobia, having repeatedly referred to transgender people as “it” and “some guy wearing a dress,” as reported by Buzzfeed in 2019. Despite Bloomberg’s continued rhetoric of having great relationships with women and using his candidacy to dismantle Trump’s anti-Trans policies, it remains clear that his disturbing past demonstrates otherwise.
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