As Michael Bloomberg has risen in the Democratic primary polls, much of the national conversation has turned to his current campaign—and to his public record as one of the world’s richest men. Bloomberg has recently made a point of saying he “would not be where I am today without the talented women around me,” but as numerous outlets have reported, Bloomberg also has a history of making crude and sexually inappropriate comments toward women, as well as allegedly fostering a misogynistic, predatory workplace. (According to Business Insider, “nearly 40 employment lawsuits from 65 plaintiffs have been lodged against Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg personally in state and federal courts since 1996, the majority of which deal with discrimination over gender, race, and disability status, as well as pregnancy discrimination and wage theft.”)
Some of Bloomberg’s comments were made decades ago, some just within the past few years. But all of them should give us pause. Below, a reminder of the awful things Bloomberg has allegedly said about women.
“I know for a fact that any self-respecting woman who walks past a construction site and doesn’t get a whistle will turn around and walk past again and again until she does get one.”
It’s been widely reported that an employee at Bloomberg’s company gifted him a booklet of his own quotes from his 48th birthday, writing in the intro: “Yes, these are all actual quotes. No, nothing has been embellished or exaggerated.” The above quote was included in the booklet, as were these: “[The company’s financial information computers] will do everything, including give you [oral sex]. I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business,” and “If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.” An employee who helped create the present confirmed the booklet’s quotes came from Bloomberg, according to a 2001 New York magazine article.
Bloomberg has responded to claims about the booklet over the years. According to the Washington Post, in 2001, his spokesman said “some of the things he might have said.” However, most recently a spokesman told the newspaper, “Mike simply did not say the things somebody wrote in this gag gift.” He continued, “Mike openly admits that his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life and some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong.”
As the Washington Post reports, one of Bloomberg’s former employees, Sekiko Sakai Garrison, sued Bloomberg and his company in the late ’90s, alleging workplace discrimination. In her complaint, Garrison described an incident where she told Bloomberg she was pregnant and he allegedly responded, “Kill it,” which she assumed to be in reference to her unborn baby. Shortly after, Bloomberg denied the insinuation in a voicemail to Garrison, and a few months later, she was fired. A former Bloomberg writer recently told the Post he was there when the comment was made. Bloomberg has continued to deny ever saying it, and Garrison’s case was eventually settled.
“Why didn’t they ask you to be in the picture? I guess they saw your face.”
In the complaint, Garrison also alleged Bloomberg once said the above to her when Bloomberg noticed she was standing nearby while he was taking a group photo with some students and company salespeople.
“It’s a fucking baby! All it does is eat and shit! It doesn’t know the difference between you and anyone else! All you need is some black who doesn’t even have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building!”
Garrison’s complaint alleged that this was Bloomberg’s response to a female employee who was having trouble finding a nanny for her child.
“All of you girls line up to give him [oral sex] as a wedding present.”
Garrison claimed Bloomberg said this in 1989 when a male salesperson at the company announced he was getting married.
“If [the clients] told you to lay down and strip naked so they could fuck you, would you do that too?”
She also alleged that Bloomberg said this to a newly-hired female salesperson after Bloomberg was unhappy with a business meeting.
“What, is the guy dumb and blind? What the hell is he marrying you for?”
According to a 2001 New York magazine piece, Garrison claimed Bloomberg said this to her after she announced she was engaged. She also alleged he later said: “Still engaged? What, is he that good in bed, or did your father pay him off to get rid of you?”
“I’d like to do that piece of meat.”
The Post also reported this quote, citing a complaint filed by Mary Ann Olszewski, a former employee who sued Bloomberg LP in 1996, claiming she was drugged and raped by her supervisor. She alleged that Bloomberg made the remark to employees. Per the paper, Bloomberg said about the remark: “I don’t recall ever using the term ‘meat’ at all.”
“I like theater, dining and chasing women. Let me put it this way: I am a single, straight billionaire in Manhattan. What do you think? It’s a wet dream.”
After getting divorced from his wife, Bloomberg said this in a 1996 interview with The Guardian.
“Look at the ass on her.”
In a 2013 New York magazine cover story about Christine Quinn, a New York City mayoral candidate at the time, the reporter described that Bloomberg “gestured toward a woman in a very tight floor-length gown standing nearby” at a party and said, “Look at the ass on her.”
“If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people.”
BuzzFeed News surfaced a video of Bloomberg making those remarks about transgender people while speaking at a forum hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency in March 2019.