Bloomberg offers to release three women from nondisclosure agreements

Bloomberg offers to release three women from nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company would release from nondisclosure agreements three women who complained about inappropriate comments they said he made, two days after he was pressed to do so by Elizabeth Warren during the Democratic debate.

“Bloomberg LP has identified 3 NDAs signed over the past 30+ years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made. If any of them want to be released from their NDAs, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release,” Bloomberg tweeted Friday.

Bloomberg LP has identified 3 NDAs signed over the past 30+ years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made.

If any of them want to be released from their NDAs, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release. https://t.co/bO9JpvSx1T

— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 21, 2020

Warren sharply criticized the billionaire presidential candidate for the use of nondisclosure agreements and his treatment of women that had been reported in the press during Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas, repeatedly asking how many such agreements existed.

“None of them accuse me of doing anything, other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told,” Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, said.

He said then that he wouldn’t release them from the agreements because they’d been signed “consensually.”

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“They signed those agreements, and we’ll live with it,” Bloomberg said.

During a CNN town hall Thursday night, Warren didn’t let up.

“So I used to teach contract law,” the former law professor said, “And I thought I would make this easy. I wrote up a release and covenant not to sue. And all that Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it. I’ll text it. Sign it, and then the women and men will be free to speak and tell their own stories.”

Bloomberg’s offer to release the three women from their agreements did not satisfy Warren, who called on him to issue a blanket release for people who’ve signed NDAs with his namesake company.

“That’s just not good enough. Michael Bloomberg needs to do a blanket release so that all women who’ve been muzzled by non-disclosure agreements can step up and tell their side of the story in terms of what Michael Bloomberg has done,” Warren told reporters in Las Vegas. “If he’s limiting the number then you can’t know whether there are three, or 30 or 300, and that should not be within the control of Michael Bloomberg.”

“He’s going to have to be fully transparent on this issue,” she added.

Bloomberg LP has settled a number of other lawsuits involving allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at his company, according to a review by The Washington Post.

Multiple women told ABC News that they were interested in publicly sharing their stories about working for Bloomberg, but were bound by confidentiality agreements and feared retaliation if they were to speak out.

In his statement Friday, Bloomberg vowed that as long as he in charge, NDAs would no longer be used to resolve similar claims.

“I’ve done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days and I’ve decided that for as long as I’m running the company, we won’t offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward,” Bloomberg said.

“I recognize that NDAs, particularly when they are used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault, promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported,” he added.

Image: Dareh GregorianDareh Gregorian

Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.

Image: Josh LedermanJosh Lederman

Josh Lederman is a national political reporter for NBC News.

Deepa Shivaram

contributed.

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