Response to Sexism Allegations Against Michael Bloomberg

2020 Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has qualified and will join the Democratic Nevada primary debate. As he enters the spotlight, so too do some of the more controversial aspects of his history, both as a private citizen and as a policymaker. Timothy O’Brien, Senior Advisor to Bloomberg’s campaign, joins Christiane to respond to recent criticisms.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, let’s move on to the women issue. I mean, again, you know, this has come up over and again, there’s been an article in the “Washington Post” about, you know, certain comments. Mike Bloomberg has called them body jokes, some of the more, you know, pointed accusations, he’s blatantly, you know, fully denied. But how do you think this is going to affect, A, what other candidates are going to sort of, you know, rain down on him, and B, his electability amongst women?

TIMOTHY O’BRIEN, SENIOR ADVISER, BLOOMBERG 2020 CAMPAIGN: Well, I think there’s — again, I think there’s — I think over the last week, you know, these are questions that came up when Mike ran for mayor of New York. They’ve come up over the last few years. These aren’t new questions. Voters in New York put them aside because most of the accusations did not involve him personally. We want to take them on, specifically in the #MeToo era. You know, we feel as a campaign that #MeToo is a healthy development. Women have been held back in the workplace and in politics and in social life for far too long by men who are either crass, unfeeling or predatory, like for example, Donald Trump himself. Mike Bloomberg is not that person. What’s come out over the last weekend are sort of in two, you know, categories. There’s this issue of a gag book of jokes that was given to him 30 years ago, jokes he did not write that had very offensive and gross jokes about women in them. He didn’t say any of those things and he didn’t write the gag book. But the press is pulling quotes out of that book as if they’re quotes out of Mike Bloomberg’s mouth. He has repeatedly denied saying them. We will continue to say that. But the media is sort of having a field day with that and it’s obviously helping research from Mike’s competitors. The other set of issues here are the sexual harassment claims that came in to Bloomberg L.P. Again, we think it’s a very healthy development that women in the workplace have the tools they need to defend themselves if they’re being treated abusively in the workplace. There are dozens of those lawsuits and the press has had headlines saying Mike Bloomberg accused by 45 women of sexual harassment. Those lawsuits are targeted at Bloomberg L.P. They are the defendant in those cases. In none of those cases has Mike Bloomberg been accused personally of predatory behavior, in the ones that have come to light and that have been adjudicated. In one case, Judge Prescott, who is a very prominent well- regarded female judge who is very tough on workplace harassment issues, found that the case lacked the evidence to go forward.

About This Episode EXPAND

Tim O’Brien, senior advisor to the Bloomberg 2020 campaign, joins Christiane to discuss stop and frisk, Michael Bloomberg’s treatment of women and other criticisms of the presidential candidate. Historian Tim Snyder tells Ana Cabrera about his book “On Tyranny” and the health of American democracy. Elizabeth Cohen and John Pomfret give Christiane an update on coronavirus.