Michael Bloomberg has agreed to release three women from non-disclosure agreements that prevented them from speaking freely about their workplace allegations against him.
After initially telling fellow Democrats on the debate stage that he would not free his accusers from the confidentiality agreements they'd signed, the former NYC mayor and presidential candidate announced a change of heart on Friday afternoon. In a statement on Twitter, he said that Bloomberg LP had "identified 3 NDAs that we signed over the past 30-plus years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made."
"If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release," the statement continued.
Going forward, Bloomberg LP will no longer offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct, he added.
Fatima Shama, Bloomberg's national director for constituencies and coalitions, clarified the announcement only applies to NDAs that involved Bloomberg making comments directly, and would not share the number of NDAs companywide.
"This is a company that employees 20,000 people globally," she told Gothamist/WNYC. "This is a conversation that is taking up a lot of air in this debate and in this presidential race."
The reversal came after Senator Elizabeth Warren repeatedly challenged Bloomberg on the debate stage to allow all women who signed an NDA to speak openly about their experiences working for the billionaire candidate.
“We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who-knows-how-many nondisclosure agreements and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against,” Warren argued during Wednesday night's debate.
Bloomberg has long been accused of tolerating, and participating in, a predatory, sexualized workplace environment at his financial company. At least 40 harassment and discrimination lawsuits from 64 employees have been filed against him and Bloomberg LP.
One employee alleged that Bloomberg told her to "kill it" after learning she was pregnant, and claimed that, upon seeing certain woman, he'd say, "I'd fuck that in a second" (the former mayor denied the allegations).
Bloomberg has dismissed many of these allegations as "bawdy jokes." As recently as last week, his campaign said they would not release women from the non-disclosure agreements, claiming it was not legally feasible.
He ultimately relented one day after Senator Warren, a former professor of contract law, printed out a document she said would easily override the secrecy agreements.
Additional reporting by Gwynne Hogan.