01:50 GMT07 April 2020
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    Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced via press statement on Friday that he is willing to release a total of three women from nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) associated with comments he allegedly made.

    The former New York mayor issued a press release Friday on his campaign website noting that the three women bound by NDAs are welcome to contact Bloomberg LP, and "they'll be given a release." 

    "I’ve done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days and I’ve decided that for as long as I’m running the company, we won’t offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward," Bloomberg said.

    "I recognize that NDAs, particularly when they are used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault, promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported." 

    The Democratic presidential candidate went on to say that he will strive to ensure that his company is the blueprint for the "Be Heard Act" - legislation he plans to bring to Congress if he becomes president that deals with equality in the workplace. 

    During NBC's Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday, candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) drew similarities between Bloomberg and US President Donald Trump concerning his wealth and reported disparaging remarks toward women. She also highlighted the amount of NDAs that prevented women from voicing their stories about the former New York mayor's past conduct and challenged Bloomberg to release them from the legally binding documents. 

    “None of [the women] accused me of doing anything, other than, maybe, they didn't like a joke I told,” Bloomberg said in response to Warren's comments, as reported by ABC News. The candidate's response was met with audible boos from the audience. 

    “Did I ever tell a bawdy joke? Yeah, sure, I did. And do I regret it? Yes, it's embarrassing, but, you know, that's the way I grew up," he argued. 

    The senator pushed the issue again on Thursday night during her CNN Town Hall and read out details from a mock contract she drew up for Bloomberg. 

    According to ABC News, at least 17 women have taken legal action against Bloomberg LP in the past 30 years, and three cases in particular cite Bloomberg by name as a contributor to the company's toxic culture. Despite the number of claims documented against the company, none made it to trial. 

    Court filings observed by the outlet quoted Bloomberg making comments such as "I’d like to do that piece of meat" and "I would do you in a second." He's also alleged to have told an employee to keep her boyfriend happy with oral sex.  

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    New York, Democratic Debates, Democratic Debate, sexual harassment, sexual harassment, non-disclosure deal, Donald Trump, 2020 Presidential Election, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg
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