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Cockburn Liberalism US Politics

Will #MeToo come for Michael Bloomberg?

The New York billionaire has a history of making colourful remarks about women

October 10, 2018

8:09 AM

10 October 2018

8:09 AM

‘Is Michael Bloomberg going to run for President?’ is a political question almost as old as Bloomberg himself. The 76-year-old media billionaire’s fixation with the White House is well-documented and he’s fanned the flames today by re-registering as a Democrat:

‘Today, I have re-registered as a Democrat, because we need Democrats to provide the checks and balance our nation so badly needs,’ wrote the septuagenarian on Instagram (is it just Cockburn who’s impressed that Grandpa knows how to use it?).

So can we expect to see the former New York mayor loitering around parking lots in Des Moines any time soon? Will he throw his hat in the ring alongside other esteemed challengers as John Delaney and Andrew Yang?

Not so fast, says BuzzFeed News’s Ben Smith:

‘There are many reasons to dismiss Bloomberg’s run. He’d be running straight into the teeth of conventional political wisdom about this incendiary moment. He represents the Democratic Party’s single worst demographic group — older white men. He has deep ties to what used to be thought of as the moderate wing of the New York Republican Party, from Rudy Giuliani, who blessed his first campaign, to the Long Island Republican Peter King, whom he still supports.

‘He’d be 78 on Election Day. Even the very rich don’t seem, yet, to have solved mortality.

‘And if the #MeToo social revolution was hostile to his recent, mild defense of Charlie Rose, the sexism allegations and settlements he weathered during his 2001 mayoral campaign could easily scuttle a 2020 run.’

Yes, political experts on the left are concerned that Bloomberg’s unwokeness could be his undoing. The ex-website Gawker, which in many cases has served as the #MeToo movement’s Cassandra, gives a rundown of his various trangressions:

‘In 1996 and 1997, four women filed sexual harassment suits against Bloomberg LP. One of them, a sales executive named Sekiko Garrison, alleges that Michael Bloomberg told her to “Kill it!” when she shared with him that she was pregnant. Asked by Garrison to repeat himself, Bloomberg said again, “Kill it!”

In a 1998 deposition relating to the Olszewski case, Bloomberg testified that he wouldn’t call the rape allegation genuine unless there was “an unimpeachable  Describe for me your conception of how there could be a third-party witness to confirm or deny the truthfulness of her allegations, the attorney asked Bloomberg. Bloomberg responded, There are times when three people are together. Later asked if he’d ever made a comment to the effect of I’d do that piece of meat or I’d do her in a second, Bloomberg said simply, I don’t recall ever using the term meat’ at all.”’

And this New York magazine profile of Christine Quinn gives a hint of the former mayor’s bluntness when discussing the fairer sex:

‘Later in the evening, the host interrupted me to point out that the mayor himself had just arrived. Did I want to meet him? Sure. My friend and I followed the host over, shook Bloomberg’s hand, and my friend thanked him for his position on gun control. Without even acknowledging the comment, Bloomberg gestured toward a woman in a very tight floor-length gown standing nearby and said, “Look at the ass on her.”’

Is Michael Bloomberg’s uninhibited nature really enough to scupper his chances with the Democrats? Would they be horrified as they were with revelations about Brett Kavanaugh’s past, or ignore the allegations and persevere, as they have done with Keith Ellison?

Cockburn recalls the presidential run of another New York billionaire who regularly made sexist remarks…can anyone remember how that turned out?


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