Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City who is now said to be mulling a run for the Democratic nomination for president, allegedly told a female employee to abort her unborn child in 1995.
A March 2001 article in The New York Times referenced a piece published earlier that month in the New York Daily News that described a sexual harassment suit against the billionaire filed in 1997.
According to The Times, a former employee at Bloomberg’s software company, Bloomberg L.P., had filed the suit.
That employee, a woman named Sekiko Sekai Garrison, alleged that Bloomberg and other executives at the company had harassed female employees with a series of insensitive and objectionable comments.
Among the most repulsive of those alleged remarks was a comment that Garrison said Bloomberg made to her at the company’s “snack area” in 1995, The Times reported.
When Garrison revealed that she was pregnant, Bloomberg allegedly responded, “Kill it!”
According to the suit, the executive went on to complain about how many women at his company were pregnant at the time.
“Great, No. 16,” he allegedly said, referencing the number of pregnant women.
Additionally, Garrison alleged that Bloomberg made ”repeated and unwelcome” sexual comments to her and other female employees.
The case was settled in 2000.
Though Bloomberg did not admit his guilt, he did pay an undisclosed amount of money.
“I settled because the lawyers believed the suit could drag on for years and disrupt the company’s focus and that of our employees,” Bloomberg told the Daily News in a statement, according to The Times.
A second sexual harassment suit against Bloomberg L.P. was dismissed. A third was withdrawn.
In a 1999 interview with the Times, Bloomberg said that “all three of their lawyers called up and said, ‘If you give us cash, we’ll go away.’ As far as I am concerned, this is out-and-out extortion, and I think companies caving in to that sort of thing are making a terrible mistake. And we will go and fight all three of these. And I, in my heart of hearts, believe that we have done nothing wrong.”
Bloomberg claimed via a March 2001 statement that a polygraph test determined he told the truth when denying the allegations of sexual harassment.
Nearly two decades later, as the now-77-year-old considers a presidential campaign, the accusations continue to dog him, with a Thursday story in The Times citing a long history of the billionaire’s inappropriate remarks and referencing the series of lawsuits.
“Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong,” a Bloomberg spokesman told The Times.
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