Former New York City Mayor and presidential candidate Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWhat Democrats need to do to avoid self-destruction Democrats' combative approach to politics is doing more harm than good Battling over Biden's agenda: A tale of two Democratic parties MORE said this week he will not release several women who sued him from their nondisclosure agreements (NDAs).
“You can't just walk away from it,” Bloomberg told ABC News, referring to the secrecy agreements. “They're legal agreements, and for all I know the other side wouldn't want to get out of it.”
Bloomberg has been accused in several lawsuits of making crude remarks and creating an uncomfortable workplace environment for women in the 1990s, with three cases against his company still active.
Several women have told ABC News they would be interested in coming forward if they were not concerned about consequences for violating confidentiality agreements.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Six big off-year elections you might be missing Republican spin on Biden is off the mark MORE (D-Mass.) said last month that the use of such nondisclosure agreements was “a way for people to hide bad things they’ve done.”
“When women raise concerns like this, we have to pay attention. We have to listen to them," she told reporters in Iowa. "And if Michael Bloomberg has made comments like this, then he has to answer for them."
When asked to respond to Warren's comments, Bloomberg reportedly told reporters Wednesday night, “Maybe the senator should worry about herself and I'll worry about myself.”
Bloomberg defended his company’s record on gender equality, telling reporters, “We can always do better, but we keep looking for better ways to make our employees get better benefits because that's the way you attract good people. And I can parade out a whole bunch of any group that you want that will tell you it's a great place to work.”
Bloomberg came under fire during his first mayoral run, in 2001, for a 1990 book of quotations attributed to him that includes, “If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.” He said at the time they were just “Borscht belt jokes.”
“Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong,” former city hall press secretary Stu Loeser, now an adviser to Bloomberg, told The New York Times in November.