Bloomberg Apologizes for Making Jokes That Made Woman Feel Uncomfortable But Says There Were 'Only Three Cases'

During the Tuesday evening Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said he was "wrong" to make jokes his employees found offensive. Bloomberg apologized for the jokes, but went on to say that "we could only find three cases where women said they were uncomfortable."

Bloomberg's apology came after Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren took aim at him over remarks he allegedly made to a pregnant employee in which he suggested the woman get an abortion at Tuesday's Democratic debate in South Carolina.

Warren described how she lost her first teaching job after becoming pregnant.

"Pregnancy discrimination? You bet," Warren said. "I didn't have any union to protect me and I didn't have a federal law on my side. So I packed up my stuff and I went home."

"At least I didn't have a boss who said to me, 'kill it,'" Warren added, "the way that Mayor Bloomberg is alleged to have said to one of his pregnant employees."

"Come on," Bloomberg responded. "I never said that and, for the record, if she was a teacher in New York City, she would have never had that problem. We treated our teachers the right way and the unions will tell you exactly that."

In a followup question, Bloomberg was asked if he was wrong for making offensive jokes, or if the employees who were offended were.

"I don't remember what [the jokes] were," Bloomberg said, "but if it bothered them I was wrong and I apologize. I'm sorry for that."

"But what happened here is we went back 40 years and we could only find three cases where women said they were uncomfortable," Bloomberg continued. "Nobody accused me of anything other than making a comment or two."

"The trouble is with [Senator Warren], enough is never enough," Bloomberg said. "I'm going to start focusing on some of these other things. We just cannot continue to relitigate this every time."

Bloomberg said taking Warren's suggestion to release those three women from their NDAs "probably changed the corporate landscape across America."

michael bloomberg
Former New York Mayor apologized during Tuesday night's Democratic debate for making offensive jokes to female employees. Scott Olson/Getty

Warren has attempted to regain her campaign's lost ground in the polls by becoming more aggressive during on the debate stage. At the ninth Democratic debate in Nevada, Warren took aim at billionaire Bloomberg's usage of NDAs.

"This is not just a question of the mayor's character," Warren said. "This is also a question about electability. We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against."

Bloomberg has since said his company would discuss releasing three of the woman who had signed NDAs with Bloomberg's company.

"I've done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days," Bloomberg said in a February statement, "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."

Warren told reporters that Bloomberg's announcement was "just not good enough." She demonstrated the point by bringing a blanket waiver and release form designed to be signed by any Bloomberg employee still locked into an NDA agreement to a CNN Town Hall.

"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."