Though Michael Bloomberg has been surging in national polls as a Democratic contender for the 2020 presidential race, documents have surfaced from a 1998 lawsuit that contain chilling remarks the mayor — known for his controversial and discriminatory stop-and-frisk laws — made about Black people and the rights of mothers, reports The Washington Post.In Sekiko Sakai Garrison’s suit against Bloomberg, he allegedly berated an employee of his company for her inability to secure child care. Other remarks to a pregnant Garrison were interpreted as instructions to “have an abortion to keep her job” by another employee.
Garrison, once a top salesperson at Bloomberg’s company, alleged that she and other female employees were “continually subjected to a hostile work environment of persistent sexual harassment” from the billionaire politician.In 1995, Bloomberg allegedly responded to news of Garrison’s pregnancy, by saying, “kill it.”
"Kill it! Great! Number 16!” he allegedly said after she asked him to repeat himself.Garrison’s understanding of the comments, according to the report, was that Bloomberg was upset by the number of women at the company having babies, Garrison seemingly being the 16th, and that he wanted her to have an abortion.
Ken Cooper, a then-software engineer and now the company’s global head of human resources, said he was in a nearby conference room when the conversation took place. He said he didn’t hear what Bloomberg said, but in an interview arranged by Bloomberg’s press office, he recalled what Garrison mentioned to him moments after the encounter.“I told Mike I was pregnant,” Garrison said, according to Cooper. “I think he may have said, ‘Kill it.’”
Despite his recent success in the polls, Bloomberg’s position on sensitive subjects remains under scrutiny. He has also been accused of promoting racist policies and attitudes as New York City mayor, a post he’s held for over a decade in part due to his self-funded campaign.Bloomberg's team has since offered a semblance of an apology.
“Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong,” a spokesman said in a statement to The New York Times. “He believes his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life.”
During a campaign stop in Texas last week, Bloomberg launched a “Mike for Black America” initiative and apologized for previously defending stop-and-frisk policing, a New York City police practice declared unconstitutional in 2013 because it unfairly targeted people of color.