Mike Bloomberg found himself on the defensive in a Wednesday appearance on “The View,” getting grilled over non-disclosure agreements barring former employees from speaking out about the alleged sexist environment at his media company.
“We don’t have anything to hide, but we made legal agreements, which both sides wanted to keep certain things from coming out,” said the former three-term mayor of New York now self-funding a White House run.
“But remember, just because you signed a non-disclosure doesn’t mean you can’t talk about other things,” Bloomberg continued. “You just can’t talk about what was in that agreement, where you say perhaps you don’t disparage the other party or you don’t want to re-tell a story.”
The multi-billionaire, 77, has been accused of fostering a toxic work environment for years at his business news company, Bloomberg LP.
The frathouse culture, it’s been claimed in dozens of discrimination and harassment suits, particularly allowed male executives to “target young, female, naive employees” with unwanted advances and at least two alleged sexual assaults.
But Bloomberg defended as business-as-usual the NDAs preventing some women allegedly subjected to the hellish treatment from telling their stories.
“You don’t take away anybody’s rights to say what they wanna say,” he told the ABC panel talk-show. “They just made an agreement, and the company made an agreement, that we wouldn’t discuss a certain thing. … Every company goes through the same thing.
“I think if you talk to most women in the company, they would say ‘equal pay, equal promotion, equal opportunity, it’s a great place to work.’”
As for Bloomberg’s alleged direct contributions to the culture, he shrugged off making a few off-color remarks.
“Did I ever tell a bawdy joke? Yeah, sure I did. And do I regret it? Yes, it’s embarrassing,” he said.
“Oh, who hasn’t?” chimed in co-host Joy Behar.
“Well, you said that, not me,” cracked Bloomberg.
Bloomberg appeared on the daytime gabfest one day after six fellow Democratic candidates faced off in a primetime debate — which hardly left him impressed.
“Best debate in 2020,” he deadpanned of the contest, the year’s first. “I didn’t learn anything.”
Bloomberg called the debate as “he said, she said,” in an apparent reference to the spat between Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren over a behind-closed-doors remark Sanders allegedly made about a woman being unable to win the general election.
The scab was torn off again during the debate, with Sanders, of Vermont, continuing to deny making the remark, and Warren, of Massachusetts, snubbing his offer of a post-debate handshake.
Even those fireworks left Bloomberg bored.
“I suppose it’s good theater, but it didn’t address the issues of the country and what they would do,” sniffed Bloomberg. “They’re not really debates, they’re pre-canned soundbites. Everybody wants to say something that doesn’t get them in trouble, or does start a controversy that has been pre-scripted and they think is good.”
Because his campaign is not soliciting public donations — unlike fellow private-sector billionaire Tom Steyer — Bloomberg is ineligible to appear in one of the nationally-televised debates under qualifications imposed by the Democratic National Committee.
“It’s harder to get the message out if you’re not in the debates,” said Bloomberg. But “I went for 12 years [as mayor] not taking any money.
“When the lobbyists showed up at City Hall, they never went to my end of City Hall, because they knew they weren’t going to be able to buy influence,” he said. “I want people to talk about it: This guy is incorruptible.”
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