As Democrat presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg continues to ascend in the polls, more and more questions are beginning to surface about his treatment of women in the workplace.
The Washington Post highlighted several of the allegations made against Bloomberg, the most disturbing of which involved Bloomberg allegedly telling a top saleswoman at his company that she should “kill” her baby while she was pregnant.
The woman, Sekiko Sakai Garrison, says that she told Bloomberg that she and her husband were having a baby and that Bloomberg told her to “kill it.”
In a lawsuit Garrison filed against Bloomberg, in which he settled with her, she said the following happened:
On April 11, 1995 at approximately 11:20 a.m., Bloomberg was having a photograph taken with two female Company salespeople and a group of N.Y.U. Business School students, in the company snack area. When Bloomberg noticed Garrison standing nearby, he asked, “Why didn’t they ask you to be in the picture? I guess they saw your face.” Continuing his penchant for ridiculing recently married women in his employ, Bloomberg asked plaintiff, “How’s married life? You married?” Plaintiff responded that her marriage was great and was going to get better in a few months: that she was pregnant, and the baby was due the following September. He responded to her “Kill it!” Plaintiff asked Bloomberg to repeat himself, and again he said, “Kill it!” and muttered, “Great! Number 16!” suggesting to plaintiff his unhappiness that sixteen women in the Company had maternity-related status. Then he walked away.
The Post interviewed former Bloomberg employee David Zielenziger, who said he witnessed Bloomberg making the comments and that Bloomberg’s behavior was “outrageous. I understood why she took offense.”
“I remember she had been telling some of her girlfriends that she was pregnant,” Zielenziger said. “And Mike came out and I remember he said, ‘Are you going to kill it?’ And that stopped everything. And I couldn’t believe it.”
“He talked kind of crudely about women all the time,” Zielenziger added.
The Post said that Bloomberg refused to be interviewed for the story and that a spokesperson for Bloomberg said that he would not release anyone from confidentiality agreements and would not release depositions from cases where he was sued.
Garrison also said that Bloomberg told saleswomen about a male colleague who was getting married: “All of you girls line up to give him [oral sex] as a wedding present.”
Garrison said that Bloomberg also repeatedly made derogatory remarks about women who were pregnant, including telling one woman, “What the hell did you do a thing like that for?”
Bloomberg allegedly told another woman who had trouble finding a nanny, “It’s a f—— baby! … All you need is some black who doesn’t have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building.”
Bloomberg learned after the incident that Garrison was upset by what happened, at which point he called her and allegedly left her a voicemail.
The Post reports that Bloomberg said the following in the voicemail:
“When you have time, give me a buzz or stop by,” the CEO said. “I didn’t even know you were pregnant until the other day.” Bloomberg said that another employee had told him “you were upset.” He said that “whatever you heard wasn’t what I said and whatever I said had nothing to do with pregnancies.” Bloomberg concluded the voice mail by saying he “couldn’t be happier you are having a child” and “I apologize if there was something you heard but I didn’t say it, didn’t mean it, didn’t say it.”
Garrison said that management at the company allegedly threatened to fire her if she did not drop the issue and told her to “forget it ever happened.” Bloomberg eventually settled the lawsuit she filed against him.