Senator Elizabeth Warren has raised critical reports of the treatment of women at Bloomberg's company at the CBS News Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: And--and referred to what I talk about is a sideshow. You know this is personal for me. When I was 21 years old I got my first job as a special education teacher. I loved that job and by the end of the first year I was visibly pregnant.
The principal wished me luck and gave my job to someone else. Pregnancy discrimination you bet but I was 21 years old; I didn't have a union to protect me and I didn't have any 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 the way that Mayor Bloomberg--
FMR. MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: I never said that.
WARREN: --is alleged to have said to one of his--
BLOOMBERG: Oh, come on.
WARREN: --pregnant employees. People want a chance to hear--
WARREN: People want a chance to hear--
NORAH O'DONNELL: Thank you, Senator.
WARREN: --from the women who have worked for Mayor Bloomberg.
BLOOMBERG: I never said that and--and--
O'DONNELL: I want to allow the mayor an opportunity to respond.
BLOOMBERG: --for the record if she was a teacher in New York City she would never have had that problem. We treated our teachers the right way and the unions will tell you exactly that.
O'DONNELL: Well, well, Mayor Bloomberg, Senator Warren has raised--
WARREN: Let us give the women have an opportunity to speak. The Bloomberg Corporations and Mayor Bloomberg--
WARREN: --himself have been accused of discrimination. They are bound by nondisclosures so that they cannot speak. If he says there is nothing to hide here, then sign a blanket release and let those women speak out so that they can tell their stories--
WARREN: --The way I can tell my story without having to fear--
KLOBUCHAR: --Norah --
O'DONNELL: --Thank you, I understand--
WARREN: --That they're going to be sued by a billionaire.
O'DONNELL: --Thank you. Thank you, we have a number of issues to discuss tonight but I want to give the mayor an opportunity to respond to because she has raised concerns about women in your workplace. At the last debate you said some of your female employees might not have liked some of your jokes. Did these women take your jokes wrong or were you wrong to make the jokes?
BLOOMBERG: Probably wrong to make jokes. I don't remember what they were, so I assume I--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 can only find three cases where women said they were uncomfortable.
Nobody accused me of doing anything other than just making a comment or two and what the senator did suggest was that we release these women from the nondisclosure agreement. I did that two days later and my company has said we will not use nondisclosure agreements ever again. The senator has got it and I don't know what else she wants us to do.
WARREN: Oh, I'll be clear--
BLOOMBERG: --We're following exactly what she asked to do--
WARREN: --I'll tell you exactly what I want you to do--
BLOOMBERG: --And the trouble is with this Senator, enough is never enough for what this--I'm going to start focusing on some of these other things. We just cannot continue to relitigate this every time. We did what she asked. And thank you. We've probably made the world better because of it. And bite my company renouncing using these, we've probably changed, hopefully, the corporate landscape all across America.
WARREN: No, I'm sorry, Mr. Mayor--
BUTTIGIEG: --If you get nominated, will be relitigating this all year--
WARREN: --You did not do what I asked--
KING: --Senator Warren, that is a very serious charge that you leveled at the mayor.
KING: He told a woman to get an abortion. What evidence do you have of that?
WARREN: Her own words.
KING: Mayor Bloomberg, could you respond to this?
WARREN: This is--
BLOOMBERG: --Never said it. Period. End of story. Categorically never set it. When it was accused--when I was accused of doing it, we couldn't figure out what she was talking about. But right now, I'm sorry if she heard what she thought she heard or whatever happened. I didn't take any pleasure in that and we've just got to go on--
WARREN: --What I asked the mayor to do--
BLOOMBERG: --But I never said it. Come on--
WARREN: --Is to do a release of all people who have discrimination--
BLOOMBERG: --We are doing that, Senator--
WARREN: --Claims--who have discrimination.