64 Different Women Have Filed 40 Lawsuits Against Michael Bloomberg for Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

By Laura Bassett, GQ

The surging Democratic presidential candidate and Bloomberg LP have fielded nearly 40 sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits over decades.

 

n December 2015, employees at Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control organization funded by Mike Bloomberg, arrived at work to find a holiday gift on their desks from their employer: the former mayor’s 1997 autobiography, Bloomberg by Bloomberg. Flipping through the book, staffers found themselves uncomfortably reading their billionaire founder’s boasts about keeping “a girlfriend in every city” and other womanizing exploits as a Wall Street up-and-comer.

“A few people started immediately going through it and sending the cringe-iest parts around on email chains,” one former Everytown employee told me. “Hardly the most controversial things he’s said, but it’s still a bad look.”

Indeed, Bloomberg’s casual boasts about his sex life in his own autobiography are now some of the least problematic parts of the his candidacy for president. In recent days, the former New York City mayor’s track record on race is undergoing renewed scrutiny: Bloomberg oversaw and expanded the racist and unconstitutional “stop and frisk” program, and a newly unearthed video shows him blaming the end of a racially discriminatory housing practice known as “redlining” for the 2008 economic recession. But it takes a telling amount of gall and cluelessness to gift a book with anecdotes about your own womanizing to employees at your gun safety non-profit in the year 2015, especially for a politician with presidential ambitions who has been vigorously denying allegations of misogyny throughout his entire career—including nearly 40 sex discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits brought against him and his organizations by 64 women over the past several decades.

Bloomberg’s sexism, like that of fellow New York City billionaire Donald Trump, has been prolific and well-documented, but for some reason, the stories about him don’t seem to have taken hold. He is still being embraced by the Democratic establishment as a viable option for its presidential nominee. He surged to third place in several 2020 polls this week; the Democratic National Committee changed its rules to allow him to participate in the next primary debate; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said his presence in the primary is a “positive one.”

All this, despite what’s already been reported and alleged for decades about Bloomberg’s behavior. As a recap, here are some examples: Sekiko Sakai Garrison, a former sales representative at Bloomberg LP, alleged in a 1997 lawsuit (one of four separate lawsuits in a two-year period) that when then-CEO Mike Bloomberg found out she was pregnant, he told her, “Kill it!” and “Great! Number 16!”—an apparent reference to the number of pregnant women or women on maternity leave at his company. She also alleged that when Bloomberg saw her engagement ring, he commented, “What is the guy dumb and blind? What the hell is he marrying you for?” and that he once pointed to another female employee and told Garrison, “If you looked like that, I’d do you in a second.” Bloomberg denied having said most of those things, but reportedly left Garrison a voicemail saying that if he did say them, he “didn’t mean it.”

Bloomberg once described his life as a single billionaire bachelor in New York City to a reporter as being a “wet dream.” “I like theater, dining and chasing women,” he said. On a radio show in 2003, he said that he would “really want to have” Jennifer Lopez, which he later explained away as wanting to “have dinner” with her. A top aide said Bloomberg frequently remarked “nice tits” upon seeing attractive women. Employees of his in 1990 put together an entire booklet of his some of his more egregious comments, including, “If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s,” and, of the computer terminal that made him a billionaire, “It will do everything, including give you [oral sex]. I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business.”

More recently, Bloomberg defended his longtime close pal Charlie Rose, who was fired from CBS and PBS in 2017 after multiple women alleged that he made unwanted sexual advances on his female colleagues and subordinates. “The stuff I read about is disgraceful—I don’t know how true all of it is,” Bloomberg told the New York Times. “I never saw anything and we have no record, we’ve checked very carefully.”

Bloomberg then took that opportunity to cast doubt on the #MeToo movement as a whole, saying the public should “let the court system decide” whether a man is guilty. “You know, is it true?” he said. “You look at people that say it is, but we have a system where you have—presumption of innocence is the basis of it.” (He didn’t give men of color the same benefit of the doubt in 2015 when he was recorded as saying that minorities were arrested at a disproportional rate “because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods,” and because “ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O.”) Rose, coincidentally, had once described his constant banter with Bloomberg about women in the office (which they shared in the 90s) as “a locker room thing”—the same defense Trump used to excuse his having boasted about “grabbing” women “by the pussy.”

Bloomberg’s campaign, in reckoning with his long history of toxic frat-boy behavior, is essentially asking voters to try and focus on his political values instead. “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 in October. “At the same time, Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong. He believes his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life.” Of course, at least through 2015, he was leading his life in such a way that he proudly passed out a narrative of his sexual exploits to the young people he hired to combat gun violence.

If the Democratic Party wants to claim the moral high-ground on issues of misogyny and sexual harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement, it has a moral obligation to reject as its highest leader a man who talks about women much in the same way Trump does. A half-hearted apology for behavior so egregious that it sparked nearly 40 lawsuits by women is a bandaid on a bullet wound.

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21 thoughts on “64 Different Women Have Filed 40 Lawsuits Against Michael Bloomberg for Sexual Harassment and Discrimination”

  1. I was looking up Bob Hope, I heard when he visited Melbourne the guy on the radio said he had to arrange a different girl for Bob every night. Happily married many years?????
    Anyhow found this:
    Bloomberg reportedly considering Hillary Clinton as his running mate
    By Mary Kay Linge and Jon LevineFebruary 15, 2020 | 11:25am | Updated
    Enlarge Image
    Michael Bloomberg and Hillary Clinton
    Michael Bloomberg and Hillary ClintonAP; Getty Images
    MORE ON:
    MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
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    He’s with her?

    Mike Bloomberg could team up with Hillary Clinton to try to take down President Trump in November — by making her his running mate.

    Bloomberg’s internal polling found the combo “would be a formidable force,” sources close to the campaign told the Drudge Report Saturday.

    Bloomberg’s communications director did not deny the rumored matchmaking effort.

    “We are focused on the primary and the debate, not VP speculation,” Jason Schechter said in a statement.

    But minutes after Drudge broke the news, Bloomberg himself posted a coy message about working with female colleagues.

    “I would not be where I am today without the talented women around me,” he tweeted. “I’ve depended on their leadership, their advice and their contributions.”

    A Bloomberg campaign insider told The Post that the two have long been simpatico – going back to the days when she represented New York in the U.S. Senate and he was Gotham’s mayor.

    “I am sure that they polled it, just because you would be dumb not to wonder,” the insider said. “You want to see what a match-up might look like.”

    But the pairing is a “net negative” for Bloomberg, a Democratic strategist said.

    SEE ALSO

    As Bloomberg’s VP, Hillary Clinton could get revenge against Trump: Goodwin
    “It doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Brad Bannon, a consultant not affiliated with any presidential campaign.

    “If he wins the nomination, there’s going to be a lot of unhappiness in the progressive wing of the party,” Bannon explained. “You can’t afford to have them sit on their hands in November.”

    Clinton is anathema to progressive supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who accuse her of underhanded tactics beating him to win the Democratic Party nomination in 2016.

    One of his top surrogates, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), led a chorus of anti-Clinton boos at a Sanders rally in Iowa last month.

    Bloomberg “is going to have to offer some kind of an olive branch to the Sanders wing,” Bannon said, but with Clinton as his running mate, “instead of an olive branch you’re offering them a thorn.”

    Trump allies pounced on the rumor.

    “Hillary apparently can’t resist trying to steal the nomination from Bernie a second time,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told The Post.

    “Did anti-establishment Dems really think the establishment oligarchs in their party were just gonna roll over in the face of Bernie’s revolution?” Republican strategist Andy Surabian told the Daily Caller.

    Sanders ignored the running-mate firestorm while campaigning Saturday, but did get in some veiled digs at Bloomberg. At a Las Vegas rally, he railed against “billionaires spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get elected.”

    Asked about the looming Hill-Berg, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has endorsed Sanders, deflected.

    “I would hope [Bloomberg] would not be in a position to be choosing a running mate at all,” she told The Post during her Queens campaign office opening Saturday.

    “I think Bloomberg’s past on stop and frisk, on harassment of women— all of these claims are huge red flags.”

    Clinton and Bloomberg were spotted together in December at Orso in the Theatre District, where they dined with daughter Chelsea, Barry Diller, Diane von Furstenberg, and others, Page Six reported – supposedly to celebrate the birthday of socialite Annette de la Renta.

    “From what I have seen they have always been friendly,” the campaign insider said.

    Clinton said last week that she would “probably” not accept an offer to run as another Democrat’s veep – which would be a demotion of sorts after serving as Secretary of State under President Obama and as her husband’s principal adviser and unofficial deputy during President Bill Clinton’s two terms.

    But she wouldn’t rule it out.

    “I never say never because I believe in serving my country,” she told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. “But it’s never going to happen.”

    Additional reporting by Sam Raskin

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  2. My stepfather, an attorney, had 4 children out of wedlock that I know of. My mother would take the babies from the bio mother inside the hospital and hand them to the waiting new parents in their car at the curb. All of the paperwork was in the new parents name. These babies went to neighbors, members of our church, etc. Not a word was said…everything was hushed. The ”adoptive” parents were delighted.
    Oh btw, who were the bio mother[s]? They were Latina cleaning ladies in his office building.

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      1. I remember the dinner table talk about what to do with the several babies….I was 12 at the time. My mother talked to me and others about it in detail many years after the events. He knew the right Doctors and how to register the mother into the Hospital under the new parent’s name….[at a local hospital in our hometown]. Having sex with other women was common to him after he was married to my mother. His first wife committed suicide because of it [with a gun she stole from their neighbor – April 29, 1944] When I was eleven years old I used to accompany him all over town when he visited his old girlfriends [my mom revealed this to me much later]. She was involved in all of his doings, she knew all about what he was up to. Once he even took mom to an abortion Dr. but she refused the procedure and the result was my sister. We lived an affluent life and he provided well for us.
        This was all long before there were CCTV cameras and any security at small hospitals. Can you imagine the scene of my mother walking out of the hospital with the baby and handing it to our friends at the curbside and them speeding off with the infant? It all happened….not once but several times.

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        1. This story is a heartbreaker. What a tragic and confusing milieu for a child to grow up in. You say your stepfather provided well for you, but it doesn’t seem like he provided non-financial security, neither emotionally for your mother nor physically for his progeny. It seems like to him, children were just inconveniences to be gotten rid of. I don’t even get your mom; did she collaborate in his exploits as some kind of mind control victim or was she an active, willing consort? What was the pay-off of his philandering for her? A comfortable home for her and her children?

          Thanks for sharing this story, Don. It deserves to be the basis for a novel or film.

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          1. These friends of my parents had tried to have a child for many years….when they finally had possession of these children they were thrilled beyond measure. He actually made it easy for these people to have a child they desperately wanted. I don’t know if they knew the whole story.
            My stepfather had obtained a divorce for my mother from my bio father who was an alcohol abuser psycho. He had also sent her father to the hospital as a result of a bloody beating. My brother and I were hiding in another room. There was issued an arrest warrant for him. He fled the state is now deceased many years.
            Yes, Toni, we lived a comfortable life. When my stepfather passed a few years later he left an estate worth over a million dollars in today’s money.
            My mother and stepfather were madly in love. [People are not perfect in this world.]
            Couples that are childless and want a child will do almost anything to have one….even travel to foreign countries to find one.

    1. George Costanza got the sack on Seinfeld when the Latino cleaning lady he had sex with complained. And Arnold Schwatzenegger got the Latino cleaning lady pregnant.

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  3. I was working in an office on a $billion building about 30 years ago. I found out the new secretary was the bosses wife, who found out about her husband playing up and had the mistress transfered to another state and took the job to keep an eye on her husband.

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  4. About 30 years ago I used to visit various businesses in my consulting business. I have observed with my own eyes men sexually harassing women who were applying for jobs.

    Just one example for now. In this case the job interviewer had his hands, mostly below the waist, all over a woman who wanted a low paid clerk job. He was molesting her in an open office where anyone could see what he was doing. It was like what you might expect to see in a sleazy bar.

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    1. I had a factory job where the boss of that factory told me about a young lady who applied for a job years before. She said in the interview that she “really” needed the job, and offered sex. So according to the boss, every so often he used to call in the offer. It works both ways.

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      1. Also I find the comments on Bloomberg’s short stature a bit childish. Whatever he is or has done, his height is not his fault. I myself am a reasonable height, but that is my good fortune. The next thing they’ll be comparing penis sizes.

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        1. It’s a huge political disadvantage. In most elections in the past. the taller candidate won–until the GOP began stealing elections for George W. Bush, who was shorter than Al Gore. That’s why it matters. Standing next to Trump, he is going to look like a shrimp.

        2. Wait a minute, I think they were saying that Trump was not up to scratch themselves and Trump said his penis size is OK. So they probably are hypocrties.
          “Trump’s bodyguard invites Daniels to dinner, which turns out to be an invitation to Trump’s penthouse, she writes, in a description of alleged events that Daniels has disclosed previously but which in the book are rendered with new and lurid detail. She describes Trump’s penis as “smaller than average” but “not freakishly small”.”

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          1. We are not talking about the size of his manhood, Bill, but his height standing up. Did you miss the memo?

          2. “it has a moral obligation to reject as its highest leader a man who talks about women much in the same way Trump does”
            They are both Billionaires and were “spreading the love”.

    2. Don, thanks for relating that story. I don’t doubt that it happens regularly, but I have never seen it. Maybe it’s different for guys. Guys act differently around guys, I’m sure, which is fine with me.

      It seems that in all workplaces women are favored when they are in sexual relationships with men in power. The transaction is not against anyone’s will, from what I’ve seen. Some women trade on sex in a calculated way. I knew one who would go into the supervisor’s office, lock the door and take off her shirt. Needless to say, she enjoyed an advantage in our workplace.

      I’m not talking about rape or physical assault when I say that what the indiscriminate #MeToo movement obscures is that adult members of both genders use sex all the time to secure advantages. It’s just as distasteful to me when women use sex as when men demand sex for favors, but it’s a particular shame when women are allowed to wrongly claim retroactive victimhood. Men are demonized for something that both genders are intent on perpetrating because women retain the option to denounce it later.

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      1. In my previous comment, I should have said “SOME adult members of both genders” and “both genders are OFTEN intent on perpetrating…” Not all people, perhaps not even most people, are using sex as leverage in power situations.

        But in politics and business it’s as ludicrous to ignore it as it is to attribute it solely to one side.

        #MeToo is back-firing on leftists because their traditional liberal attitudes toward sex are clashing with the purity test being urged in this article.

        In other news… Hillary Clinton is being floated as Bloomberg’s VP. Finally! someone who knows something about protecting rapists and sexual harassers! Defending Bloomberg’s record should be a cakewalk for her.

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          1. Funny.
            Republicans have their own infuriating and extensive blind spots, but Democrats live in some upside-down delusion of a comic-book universe where everything is the opposite: Biden is an Innocent Everyman, Hilary is a Feminist Hero and Obama is an Unblemished Saint.

            At least around here, people struggle with the extensive short-comings of Donald Trump, not to mention the rest of the lot on both sides of the aisle.

          2. If I did not believe the Dems were hopeless cowards, I would almost think they were committing party suicide…oh wait…suicide is for cowards…well, that settles that…they would rather destroy themselves than admit they actually lost in 2016 and will most definitely lose in 2020…
            Then again, assassination can be a final desperate act….of course, it will be blamed on a lone gunman…

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