Billionaire Mike Bloomberg once told a pregnant female employee to ‘kill it’ and When she said she struggled to find childcare he told her to hire ‘some black’ according to a settled lawsuit.
Not only did Bloomberg tell a female employee to ‘kill it’ after she announced she was pregnant, but a former employee also says the businessman spoke ‘crudely about women all the time’.
The 78-year-old businessman-turned-wannabe politician’s controversial past of offensive and sexist comments towards woman has come under a microscope as he competes for the Democratic presidential candidate nomination.
On April 11, 1995, top salesperson Sekiko Sakai Garrison told Bloomberg she was pregnant and he responded by insinuating she should get an abortion, according to a 1997 lawsuit, which was privately settled.
When he heard Garrison mention her pregnancy, he responded by saying “kill it”, the court documents said.
‘Plaintiff asked Bloomberg to repeat himself, and again he said, “Kill it!” and muttered, “Great! Number 16!” suggesting to the plaintiff his unhappiness that 16 women in the company had maternity-related status. Then he walked away.’
On another occasion when she expressed she was struggling to find childcare, Bloomberg told her to hire ‘some black’.
‘It’s a f*ing baby! All it does is eat and st! It doesn’t know the difference between you and anyone else! All you need is some black who doesn’t have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building,’ Bloomberg said in July 1993.
She responded by crying at her boss’s harsh words, according to the lawsuit, which is the subject of a new report by the Washington Post published Saturday.
Former Bloomberg employee David Zielenziger corroborated those accusations saying Bloomberg: ‘He talked kind of crudely about women all of the time.’
He said he heard Bloomberg tell Garrison to ‘kill it’, slamming his comment as ‘outrageous.’
‘I remember she had been telling some of her girlfriends that she was pregnant,’ he recalled to the Post. ‘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.’
‘I understood why she took offense,’ he added.
Zielenziger said he never spoke to Garrison about the incident and he was not a party in her lawsuit against the lawsuit against their former boss.
Ken Cooper, a software engineer who now leads Bloomberg’s human resources department, told the Washington Post that he did not hear the comments himself, but Garrison had recounted the kill it comment.
When Bloomberg heard that Garrison was upset by his comments he called her and left a long voicemail saying she misinterpreted his comments.
‘When you have time, give me a buzz or stop by…I don’t understand,’ he said in his voicemail message.
‘I didn’t even know you were pregnant until the other day…(another employee) said you were all upset…whatever you heard wasn’t what I said and whatever I said had nothing to do with pregnancies…I couldn’t be happier you are having a child…I apologize if there was something you heard but I didn’t say it, didn’t mean it, didn’t say it,’ he added.
However, Bloomberg denied that ‘black’ comment under oath during the lawsuit. But he reached an undisclosed settlement with Garrison.
A spokesperson for Bloomberg’s campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry regarding the ‘some black’ remark.
Bloomberg’s company has been hit with several lawsuits over the years alleging that women were discriminated against in the workplace and accusing the founder himself of creating a culture of sexual harassment and degradation.
There have been two reports of alleged sexual assault by Bloomberg executives.
The old lawsuit, and others regarding discrimination complaints at Bloomberg LP, are the subject of fresh scrutiny as Bloomberg’s presidential campaign faces hard questions about the former New York City mayor’s ability to win over black voters.
As mayor, Bloomberg presided over sharp drops in crime that continued from the term of his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, and was a strong advocate of ‘stop-and-frisk’ policies.
Bloomberg credited stop-and-frisk with getting illegal guns off the streets and dramatically reducing shootings, but many are saying it’s a racist policy that targeted black and Hispanic youth.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg tried to tackle race concerns head-on by launching a ‘Mike For Black America’ outreach initiative.
Bloomberg rallied black supporters in Texas on Thursday, with his sights set on so-called ‘Super Tuesday’ on March 3, when voters in 16 states and territories will cast their ballots in the Democratic primary.
‘This month, we look back and celebrate black history together, because black history is American history,’ Bloomberg said at the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, named after a Civil War regiment of African-American soldiers, where he kicked off his ‘Mike for Black America’ campaign.
On Thursday he again apologized for backing arbitrary ‘stop-and-frisk’ searches by the New York police when he was mayor.
‘I defended it, looking back, for too long, because I didn’t understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids’.
Bloomberg had already apologized over the scandal, but it surfaced again after a recording was spread widely on social media — and retweeted by President Trump — in which he said police should be deployed to minority neighborhoods because ‘that’s where all the crime is.’
Bloomberg on Thursday surprisingly received the support of influential, black Democratic mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner.
‘It’s important for me to hear the recognition that the policy that was put in place was not the right policy, that it was flawed, that it was insensitive,’ Turner said.
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