After Bloomberg Offers to Release 3 Women From NDAs, Warren Calls for Blanket Waiver

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren renewed her call for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to release his employees from their legally binding nondisclosure agreements on Friday.

Warren's reiteration comes after Bloomberg's campaign announced it would offer to release three women from their NDAs with Bloomberg's company, and that Warren herself had inspired that move.

At Wednesday's Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Warren attacked Bloomberg's usage of NDAs, which were allegedly used to keep victims of sexual harassment in his company from speaking out in public.

"He has got some number of women, dozens, who knows," Warren said, "to sign nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace. So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those nondisclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?"

"We have very few nondisclosure agreements," Bloomberg said. "None of them have accused me of doing anything, other than maybe they didn't like a joke."

Warren, a former teacher of contract law, crafted a release form for those who had signed NDAs with Bloomberg and brought it to a CNN Town Hall meeting Thursday night.

"All that Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it," Warren said. "I'll text it. Sign it and then the women or men will be free to speak and tell their own stories."

Warren said Friday that Bloomberg wasn't doing enough to quell the concern, telling reporters that Bloomberg is "going to have to be fully transparent on this issue."

"Like I said yesterday," Warren tweeted, "Mike Bloomberg and his company should issue a blanket waiver so anyone who wants to come forward can come forward, with or without Bloomberg's prior permission.

Like I said yesterday, Mike Bloomberg and his company should issue a blanket waiver so anyone who wants to come forward can come forward, with or without Bloomberg's prior permission.

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 22, 2020

Newsweek reached out to Warren's campaigns for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

elizabeth warren
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren called Friday for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to offer a blanket waiver to any individual who had signed a nondisclosure agreement with him. David Becker/Getty

Friday, Bloomberg released a statement saying his company would eschew the usage of NDAs in the future and would work with three women on terms of their release from the agreements.

"If any of [the three women] 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," Bloomberg wrote. "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."

Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign agreed with Warren that Bloomberg's gesture was not expansive enough.

"Today's release essentially tells the public nothing," wrote Biden's campaign manager Kate Bedingfield in a Friday statement. "We don't know how many women signed these NDAs, what percentage of NDAs this represents, or what categories of signed NDAs exist that are excluded. It is well past time for Mayor Bloomberg to dispense with tricks and come clean with everyone he's asking to vote for him about this very important part of his record."

"To be clear: 3 is the total number of NDAs that have IDed over thirty+ years pertaining directly to Mike," tweeted Bloomberg's campaign manager Kevin Sheekey on Friday.

To be clear: 3 is the total number of NDAs that have been IDed over thirty+ years pertaining directly to Mike.

— Kevin Sheekey (@ksheekey) February 22, 2020

Bloomberg senior adviser Tim O'Brien told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room Friday that Warren's calling out of Bloomberg's NDA situation during the debate helped spur the decision to enter discussions with the three unnamed women.

"Of course, Senator Warren has played a role in the decision," O'Brien said, "and I admire Senator Warren greatly. She's an incredible public servant."

"Unfortunately, I think the debate became a free-for-all," O'Brien continued. "Mike had a big target on his back. [Warren] chose, I think, to take the position she did which was to use some false information or unclear information to try to pretend that Mike Bloomberg doesn't support women and has not spent a lifetime helping to empower them."

"We're happy to try to resolve this by becoming much clearer with the NDAs that have been in question but I would point to you again that this is a small number of the NDAs that were in dispute," O'Brien added.

Updated 3:56 p.m. 02/24/2020: This story was updated to include a tweet from Bloomberg's campaign manager.