Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg said today his company would release three women from non-disclosure agreements they entered after settling complaints about his behavior.
Elizabeth Warren raised the issue in a televised debate this week.
The Bloomberg campaign issued this statement today:
“I’ve had the company go back over its record and they’ve identified 3 NDAs that we signed over the past 30-plus years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made. If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release. 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.
“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. It is imperative that when problems occur, workplaces not only address the specific incidents, but the culture and practices that led to those incidents. And then leaders must act.
“That is why I am committing to do the following:
“All business leaders must recognize that our workplace cultures are our responsibility and leadership on good workplace policies must come from the top. I am proud of Bloomberg LP, the company we have built. But like all workplaces, we should always look to do better. We have a human resources team in place that has always worked at the forefront of industries seeking best practices. I have asked them to consult with experts, as I myself have done in recent days, and review and reform our policies where necessary with regard to equal pay and promotion, sexual harassment and discrimination, and other legal tools that prevent culture change. I want my company to be a model for women seeking opportunity and support in their careers. When we support women in the workplace, we advance not just their own feelings of value, but we help them and their families across America live better lives through higher wages. Our efforts ripple throughout the entire economy.
“As president, I will work to pass the Be Heard Act in Congress, which will legislate these needed changes into federal law. I will also support legislative proposals that increase women’s equity in the workplace, including guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid family leave, signing the Paycheck Fairness Act and increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour. And I will ensure that women have access to affordable child care, as well as quality health care and reproductive services. I will continue to encourage business leaders to support women beyond what is mandated by Congress.
“I have asked my campaign to review our current policies and to be consistent with these views. There is more we can do when we work together. When we share a respect for each other and treat all of our colleagues as we ourselves would wish to be treated, we all do our best work. This is something Donald Trump does not understand — not when he ran his business, and not now when he is recklessly running our country. I will be a leader whom women can trust.”
Bloomberg is doing a lot of apologizing as he spends enormous sums, including millions in Arkansas, to win the nomination of his newly adopted political party.
Also this week, the Bloomberg campaign in Arkansas announced the addition of some familiar Arkansas names as supporters of his campaign, in addition to Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, Little Rock businesswoman and civic leader Ada Hollingsworth, Ann & Dr. Morriss Henry of Fayetteville and West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon were identified as co-Chairs of Arkansas for Mike 2020.
Speaking of endorsements: I received an invitation today to a “hot dish house party” for the Amy Klobuchar campaign being thrown next week by Bobby and Kathy Roberts. He’s the retired director of the Central Arkansas Library System.
NOTED: My original headline said “diffuse” rather than “defuse” the NDA issue and I have been sharply and thoroughly shamed for this on social media. Mea culpa.
UPDATE: On the campaign front, Sen. Linda Chesterfield and Rep. Jamie Scott report they’ll be campaigning for Joe Biden this weekend