Republicans of all stripes and Democrats who oppose billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s candidacy for president have been very vocal about his past that some believe demonstrates his racism. They point to his implementation and ongoing defense of stop-and-frisk, an unpopular practice among minorities who claim it unfairly targeted people of color. They look at comments he made about “redlining,” an old practice by banks to exclude people in minority neighborhoods from being offered mortgages. He once blamed the end of the practice for the housing crash of 2008.
But his race-based decisions are not necessarily indicative of actual racism. He has never been caught on tape (so far) saying anything that was blatantly racist and his arguments in favor of stop-and-frisk and redlining are backed by empirical data. Minorities do not seem to be shunning him universally as his poll numbers continue to rise. Many are trying to paint him as a racist, but it doesn’t seem to be sticking.
The real weakness in Bloomberg’s past has nothing to do with race. He has a problem with women. He’s always had problem with women and there is plenty of documented evidence of it. In fact, he even had a booklet printed with his “Wit and Wisdom” that included some unambiguously sexist remarks.
“What do I want?” the booklet says on page six. “I want an exclusive, 10-year contract, an automatic extension, and I want you to pay me. And I want [oral sex] from Jane Fonda. Have you seen Jane Fonda? Not bad for fifty.”
Misgivings among Democrats for Bloomberg’s misogyny go back to before the turn of the century when he and his company were hit by a slew of sexual harassment lawsuits. They were scrutinized for the charges as well as how they handled them. Reports that women, including one who claimed she was raped by her boss, were investigated by Bloomberg’s company so they could find dirt on them plagued them from the late 1990s until today. But all of them so far have settled. All of them have been silenced. There are reports that as many as 40 women have been paid off by the company. All of their stories have been suppressed.
“Mr. Bloomberg,” the NY Times pointed out in 2018 when rumors started that he might run for President, “is plainly an uncomfortable match for a progressive coalition passionately animated by concern for economic inequality and the civil rights of women and minorities.”
GQ took on the subject in a recent article that should make Democrats wonder what else is buried in their potential nominee’s huge closet.
In December 2015, employees at Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control organization funded by Mike Bloomberg, arrived at work to find a holiday gift on their desks from their employer: the former mayor’s 1997 autobiography, Bloomberg by Bloomberg. Flipping through the book, staffers found themselves uncomfortably reading their billionaire founder’s boasts about keeping “a girlfriend in every city” and other womanizing exploits as a Wall Street up-and-comer.
“A few people started immediately going through it and sending the cringe-iest parts around on email chains,” one former Everytown employee told me. “Hardly the most controversial things he’s said, but it’s still a bad look.”
Indeed, Bloomberg’s casual boasts about his sex life in his own autobiography are now some of the least problematic parts of the his candidacy for president. In recent days, the former New York City mayor’s track record on race is undergoing renewed scrutiny: Bloomberg oversaw and expanded the racist and unconstitutional “stop and frisk” program, and a newly unearthed video shows him blaming the end of a racially discriminatory housing practice known as “redlining” for the 2008 economic recession. But it takes a telling amount of gall and cluelessness to gift a book with anecdotes about your own womanizing to employees at your gun safety non-profit in the year 2015, especially for a politician with presidential ambitions who has been vigorously denying allegations of misogyny throughout his entire career—including nearly 40 sex discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits brought against him and his organizations by 64 women over the past several decades.
Literally hundreds of accusations have been leveled against President Trump for sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct. The big difference is that the vast majority of them are clearly politically motivated. Unlike Bloomberg, the President wasn’t facing these allegations before he announced his candidacy. Complaints against Bloomberg go back decades. Complaints against the President magically materialized when he became a candidate and accelerated after he won the 2016 election. Moreover, the Presidents’ past settled lawsuits were based on consensual relationships he had with women. Bloomberg’s settled lawsuits were based on sexual misconduct.
The real question should be, “Why is Bloomberg getting a pass?” There are more than just accusations leveled against him. There is demonstrable proof that he has a very low opinion of women in general. One quote from his booklet was highlighted by one of our writers:
Mike Bloomberg might be a racist. He’s definitely a misogynist. His history of sexual misconduct lawsuits that, unlike President Trump, started long before he was in politics should remove him from consideration. It seems #MeToo doesn’t apply to some.