Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Friday that he’s offering to release multiple women from agreements they signed that prevented them from speaking publicly about sexual harassment or misconduct allegations.
It comes two days after Bloomberg was attacked about them on the presidential debate stage.
On Friday, Bloomberg took to Twitter to share that his company identified three women who signed non-disclosure agreements during the past 30 years related to Bloomberg himself. He says he will grant them a release if they request one.
In a statement, Bloomberg said that after reflecting for a few days, “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.”
On the debate stage Wednesday, Bloomberg would not promise to release women who worked at his company from non-disclosure agreements related to sexual harassment allegations.
“We have very few non-disclosure agreements … None of them accused me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told,” Bloomberg said at the debate in Las Vegas hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. “We are not going to end these agreements, because they were made consensually and they have every right to expect they will stay private.”
But after a less-than-stellar debate performance and criticism for his remarks, the former mayor had a change of heart Friday afternoon, saying the agreements “contribute to a culture of silence in the workplace.”
Of course, they have also been a major line of attack from his Democratic rivals:
“I wrote up a release and covenant not to sue, and all Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it — I’ll text it — sign it, and then the women or men will be free to speak and tell their own stories,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Thursday night at a CNN town hall.
The Bloomberg team is trying to reframe the race after the mayor’s mediocre performance in Las Vegas. They are committed to a debate in South Carolina on Tuesday, and a town hall meeting on CNN the night before.
“He’s used to taking questions from folks. He’s used to having his record scrutinized and decisions he’s made scrutinized,” said Sabrina Singh, a national spokeswoman for the Bloomberg campaign. “So he’ll be ready for whatever comes our way.”
As part of the path forward, the Bloomberg campaign continues to try to make it a two-person race: the mayor versus Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
As part of that, Bloomberg’s campaign manager issued a statement on Friday revealing vandalism that has occurred at several campaign office sites. He claimed the attacks echo Sanders supporters. He demanded Sanders condemn the vandalism.
When we reached out to the sanders campaign, a spokesman did not have any comment.