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Bloomberg’s refusal to release women from NDAs bogs down campaign



  • Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s refusal to release employees at his media company from non-disclosure agreements blew up on him at this week’s Las Vegas debate.
  • A November investigation by Business Insider found that Bloomberg LP has repeatedly been described as a sexualized, predatory environment in harassment and discrimination complaints from several women going back two decades.
  • Those complaints have been resolved under non-disclosure agreements, with Bloomberg still stopping short of saying he is willing to release employees from their obligations to keep quiet.
  • Bloomberg campaign aides and advisers recently spoke to The New York Times about preparation for the debate and how the predictable topic of NDAs got botched by the candidate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg continues to be dogged by his refusal to release employees at his media company from non-disclosure agreements reached amid allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination going back two decades. 

A November investigation by Business Insider delivered the first reporting on nearly 40 employment lawsuits from 64 people since 1996, with a former employee recently asking a New York Supreme Court Judge to invalidate her NDA and those of any “similarly situated” Bloomberg LP employees.

At Wednesday night’s debate in Las Vegas, Sen. Elizabeth Warren picked Bloomberg apart over his use of NDAs, twisting the knife in the middle of an already embarrassing night for the 78-year-old billionaire.

In a story published the next day, Bloomberg campaign aides and advisers spoke to The New York Times anonymously to tell their version of how debate prep and the candidate’s sluggishness on the issue resulted in such a breakdown. 

“You know your guy isn’t good at this kind of political engagement anyway,” Democratic strategist Neal Kwatra told The Times, adding he thought Bloomberg should have just skipped the debate. “And then you put him in harm’s way with competition that has been doing nothing but this.”

While many of those who spoke anonymously said Bloomberg “would have to take a wholly different approach” to the next debate in South Carolina, one of his advisers fell on the sword.

“I led the debate prep and I accept the responsibility for inadequately preparing him,” Howard Wolfson of the Bloomberg campaign told The Times. 

In the exchange with Warren, Bloomberg would not cede to her requests to allow women who are willing to break from their NDAs in order to speak freely about the culture at Bloomberg LP, which was described to Business Insider as predatory and a “reckless playground” for male senior executives to “target young, female, naive employees” for sex. 

A spokesman for Bloomberg LP did not return a request for comment Friday after previously declining to say whether the company will release anyone from their contractual obligations to remain silent. 


Do you have a tip about working at Bloomberg LP, or about Michael Bloomberg? Contact reporter Nicole Einbinder at [email protected], direct-message on Twitter at @NicoleEinbinder, or text our tips line via Signal or WhatsApp at 646-768-4744. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.


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