Gretchen Carlson Calls On Mike Bloomberg To Free Women From The NDAs They Signed While Working For Him

Former Fox News journalist Gretchen Carlson called for presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg to release women who have accused him of sexist comments from the nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) they signed while working for him.

Carlson, along with former Fox News employees Julie Roginsky and Diana Falzone, founded the nonprofit Lift Our Voices in late 2019. All three women sued Fox News for sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, some of which came from the channel's late chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes.

With Lift Our Voices, they have said that they want to enable women to speak publicly against the unprofessional treatment they endured with mandatory NDAs like the ones they had to sign. Officially, the nonprofit's aim is to "advocat[e] for an end to the harmful practice of mandatory NDAs, confidentiality provisions and forced arbitration clauses," according to the organization's Twitter account.

Carlson made her statement about Bloomberg on Twitter in response to a question posed on Monday by journalist Kirsten Powers.

"I'll admit I've been pretty skeptical about a @MikeBloomberg candidacy but more and more people keep telling me how much they like him and they think he could be the person to beat Trump," Powers wrote in a tweet. "Then last night even my mom said it. Any others out there who feel [the] same way?"

Carlson retweeted Powers' remark, responding that she would not think of it until Bloomberg supported getting rid of the NDAs his company has made some employees sign in relation to lawsuits.

"Not until he gets on board to eradicate NDAs he made women sign at
@business (Bloomberg) and join forces w/other Presidential candidates whove [sic] supported us/women at @LiftOurVoicesUS!" she responded. "Giving women their voices back is a must for our next Prez."

Not until he gets on board to eradicate NDAs he made women sign at @business (Bloomberg) and join forces w/other Presidential candidates whove supported us/women at @LiftOurVoicesUS ! Giving women their voices back is a must for our next Prez @julieroginsky @dianafalzone

— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) February 3, 2020

Carlson referred to the fact that Bloomberg—a billionaire entrepreneur and former mayor of New York City who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination—has been accused of sexist remarks in the past by female employees who signed NDAs.

A Business Insider investigation found that women said in legal documents that Bloomberg had fostered a "toxic" culture in his company's workplace. In its own investigation a month later, ABC News reported that at least 17 women have taken legal action against Bloomberg's company since the 1990s. Three cases explicitly named Bloomberg for the problems the women faced. One woman, according to ABC News, alleged that Bloomberg told her to "kill it" upon learning that she was pregnant.

None of the cases involving Bloomberg went to court, but three are still active.

Like the founders of Lift Our Voices, the women who have leveled allegations against Bloomberg are also under NDAs, according to the Associated Press. Further, Bloomberg has said that he will not release them from the agreements and that his company signed "very few" of them, the AP reported.

On December 18, 2019, Roginsky shared an open letter that she, Carlson and Falzone wrote to presidential candidates that morning. The letter mentioned the lawsuits that the three journalists brought against Ailes and stressed the importance of allowing women to be able to tell their stories of "harassment, discrimination and retaliation" in the workplace, which they believe is possible only if mandatory NDAs are eliminated.

This is the letter we wrote to all presidential candidates this morning to join us in fighting against mandatory NDAs that protect toxic work environments. ⁦@LiftOurVoicesUS⁩ ⁦@GretchenCarlson⁩ ⁦

— Julie Roginsky (@julieroginsky) December 18, 2019

Among the Democratic candidates who have come out against NDAs are Senator Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

In November, the day after ABC News published its report on the lawsuits brought against Bloomberg, Warren was asked if she thought the women who initially made the complaints should be released from their NDAs.

"I think NDAs are a way for people to hide bad things they've done," she said, according to The New York Times. "And I think that women should be able to speak."

Warren doubled down on this at a December campaign event in Iowa, where she publicly called for Bloomberg to release the women who have alleged that he leveled "sexist comments" against them from their NDAs, Business Insider reported.

As for Buttigieg, in January Roginsky took to social media to share the news that he "just joined @LiftOurVoicesUS call to ban NDAs for toxic workplace issues."

"For far too long, nondisclosure agreements that do not allow for allegations of sexual harassment to be made public have shamefully silenced victims and shielded abusers," Buttigieg wrote in a statement to Lift Our Voices, according to Roginsky. "As president, Pete will work to build women's power in workplaces and in every part of our society, including passing the EMPOWER Act, which bans nondisclosure and non-disparagement clauses that cover workplace discrimination and harassment."

Newsweek contacted the Bloomberg campaign for comment but did not receive a reply before publication.

Gretchen Carlson
Gretchen Carlson speaks during The Hollywood Reporter's Power 100 Women in Entertainment event on December 11, 2019, in Hollywood, California. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty