- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Friday said that his company would release a limited number of women from nondisclosure agreements, backing down from a position he had taken days earlier at a debate in Las Vegas.

He said he had the company go over its records and that they’ve identified three NDAs 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,” said Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City.

Mr. Bloomberg said he’s done “a lot of reflecting” in recent days and that the company won’t offer confidentiality agreements to resolve “claims of sexual harassment or misconduct” going forward.

He said he now recognizes that NDAs can foster a “culture of silence in the workplace” when they’re used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“It is imperative that when problems occur, workplaces not only address the specific incidents, but the culture and practices that led to those incidents,” he said. “And then leaders must act.”

At the Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had pressed Mr. Bloomberg on releasing women who had signed NDAs with his company.

“We have a very few nondisclosure agreements,” he said then. “None of them accused me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.”

“There’s 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,” he said.

Ms. Warren had helped kick off the debate by slamming Mr. Bloomberg for comments about women he has allegedly made over the years.

“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg,” Ms. Warren said.

Ms. Warren, who taught contract law, also read a document at a CNN town hall Thursday evening she said she drafted that would release the people from the terms of the NDAs.

“I wrote up a release and covenant not to sue. And all that Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it. I’ll text it,” she said Thursday. “Sign it. And then the women, or men, will be free to speak and tell their own stories.”

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