At least 17 women took legal action against Bloomberg for creating a 'toxic and harassing' culture
News of former New York mayor and current Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s consistent sexist comments come as no surprise to many readers, as Bloomberg has repeatedly faced allegations of sexist behavior over the course of his career. One allegation in specific made national headlines when Bloomberg was accused of telling an employee who announced she was pregnant to “kill it.” The allegation arose in a discrimination lawsuit that was settled outside of court with an undisclosed amount. Details from ABC News:
”He told me to 'kill it' in a serious monotone voice," the woman alleged in a lawsuit. "I asked 'What? What did you just say?' He looked at me and repeated in a deliberate manner 'kill it.’"
According to court records reviewed by ABC News, at least 17 women have taken action against Bloomberg L.P., his privately held financial, software, data, and media company. ABC reports the company has developed a “frat-like” culture due to Bloomberg’s use of sexual comments including "I’d like to do that piece of meat," and "I would DO you in a second” (those quotes were taken from court documents). Three cases specifically blame Bloomberg for his role in the company’s culture. However, none of the cases made it to trial, ABC News reported.
In the past three decades, many of the allegations and cases against Bloomberg were dismissed. The company was known to have fostered a hostile environment for women, with Bloomberg himself reinforcing the inappropriate comments made by managers and other executives.
Earlier this year, prior to even entering the presidential race, Bloomberg seemed to realize how his comments could affect his candidacy. He issued an apology through his spokesman in a piece for The New York Times, in which members of his team called his comments toward women wrong and disrespectful.
“Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong,” Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said in a statement last month. “He believes his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life.”
Bloomberg has not confirmed or admitted to the allegations against him so far. While this isn’t exactly an apology, the statement is a step toward an acknowledgment of his actions—but maybe for the wrong reason.
As The New York Times notes, a majority of Democratic primary voters are women. With these allegations swirling around him and no recognition or admittance of such, Bloomberg has little to no chance of securing those votes. Now that his presidential campaign is in full swing, he and his staff realize they must acknowledge the allegations against him and his company in the era of the #MeToo movement.
"Mike Bloomberg has supported and empowered women throughout his career -- from appointing women to the very top positions in his mayoral administration to supporting women candidates for higher office to an industry-leading 26-weeks of paid family leave at his company," Julie Wood, a Bloomberg campaign spokesperson, told ABC News.
Bloomberg officials told ABC News that the culture at the company today is nothing like a frat house, and that as Bloomberg returned from his tenure as mayor he worked to improve gender equality within the business. On the company website, Bloomberg is quoted saying the company is "dedicated to empowering the women working at Bloomberg across every level and every function."
Bloomberg himself has not yet addressed any of the allegations or made any statements in regard to them, even though accountability is what people want and need. As presidential campaigns develop further, let’s see if we get more than this “apology” from Bloomberg and his staff and see a change in the work environment Bloomberg says is “dedicated to empowering women.” We don’t want to see a symbolic page dedicated to women on the company site: We want to see a company working toward equality and building a safer environment.