During the ninth round of Democratic debates in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., slammed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for signing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with “dozens” of former female employees.
“We need to know is exactly what’s lurking out there. He has gotten some number of women, dozens, who knows, to sign non-disclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the work place,” Warren said. “So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those non-disclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?”
The audience cheered for Warren. Bloomberg tried to spin the topic by claiming the non-disclosure agreements were consensual documents meant to help both parties.
“We had a very few non-disclosure agreements,” Bloomberg said. “None of them accused me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told. They’re agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet and that’s up to them. They signed those agreements and we’ll live with it.”
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Warren did not take kindly to Bloomberg’s remarks, calling the women bound by NDAs “muzzled.”
“When you say they signed [NDAs] and they wanted them, if they wish now to speak out and tell their side of the story about what it is they alleged that’s now okay with you? You’re releasing them now on television tonight?” Warren asked. “Are the women bound by being muzzled by you? And you could release them from that immediately.”
This is not just an old problem for Bloomberg. A new report shows the NDA signed by his presidential campaign staffers could prevent lower level employees from reporting workplace abuse.
According to the Nation, Bloomberg campaign employees must sign a nine-page NDA which forbids employees from discussing “any and all non-public information” and “activities” by the campaign. Unlike most NDAs, the Bloomberg campaign NDA does not expire after the campaign concludes.
This attack was only one of many lobbed at the former mayor on the Las Vegas debate stage.