Elizabeth Warren’s Misleading NDA Stunt May Not Have Her Desired Outcome
If she can critique others so harshly, critique Warren just as harshly.
Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA): a legally binding contract that establishes a confidential relationship. The party or parties signing the agreement agree that sensitive information they may obtain will not be made available to any others.
Notwithstanding Elizabeth Warren’s feigned self-righteous indignation when she attacked Michael Bloomberg like a perturbed rattlesnake in the recent Democratic debate, he was legally constrained from making the unilateral action she was demanding — releasing all parties involved in NDAs through Bloomberg’s company — and Warren knew that. Hers was a stunt intended to corner Bloomberg in a way that she believed would make him look weak and indecisive. What she did was make herself appear the disingenuous opportunist I perceive her to be.
Three women have been released from NDAs and — that was underway even before the debate — and the company had issued statements on the matter,
“If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release…”
Some have attempted to liken Warren’s lurching, physical aggression at Bloomberg is Kamala Harris’s questioning of Joe Biden in the first debate and — much to my personal satisfaction — those folks have been called out by others on all the ways in which Harris’s prosecutorial approach differed from Warren’s spastic attack. Harris posed a very pointed, specific question to Biden, then — like the professional she is — she gave him the space to respond. It was really Biden’s response, or lack there of, that got him in some trouble.
Warren was not remotely as poised as Harris, she lurched forward at Bloomberg, asserted something extreme about his failure to ‘do right’ by the women who’d litigated sexual harassment cases against his company and then kept talking, never allowing him to respond in a substantive way, knowing full well that he would not have the time to get into the details. She did that because Elizabeth Warren — given the sophisticated professional that she is — knew that his answer would crush her attempt to make him look like a corporate tycoon who mistreated female employees.
In reality, in his professional life, Mike Bloomberg has taken direct accountability for his indiscretions as a younger man, is surrounded by very powerful women, and — in all likelihood were he elected President — would have a powerful woman, perhaps a woman of color, as his Vice President among all the others ‘of color’ serving in his cabinet.
The truth is that, as the CEO of a major company with over 20,000 employees — which has had over forty suits filed against it relating to inappropriate behavior of all sorts — Bloomberg answers to a board of directors. His name is on the masthead so it is predictable that detractors want to make each of those the personal fault of Mike Bloomberg, but for a company decades old, of that size, that is pretty typical. All of them have settled suits of this type and all of them maintain a whole lot of NDAs.
It would be illegal for him to simply lift all the NDAs via fiat to satisfy Warren’s rather silly grandstanding demand. That is not to say he wouldn’t lift the constraints of the NDAs because Bloomberg companies already had, but — by law — he was not permitted to do it wholesale on the debate stage.
Furthermore, while all the activists and tunnel-visioned feminists out there in the world stew in their impervious juices, they overlook a few things that might give them pause: the first being that some of the defendants in those cases might well have been women themselves and just like any man, they may not want to discuss it publicly. The second is that some of those cases may have involved gay employees who don’t want to share their business. The third is that agreements may have been signed off on by innocent people being accused to make it go away so as not to hurt them personally or professionally. People who have every right to maintain the privacy they were guaranteed when they agreed to the arrangement. See, it’s not that simple and Mike Bloomberg had vested interests in protecting the rights and the privacy of other people that Elizabeth Warren could not have cared less about.
Bloomberg’s company settled one case in which a supervisor raped a subordinate in a hotel room on a business trip. That was obviously a matter of egregious criminality and was treated as such, and the company covered its liability. But most of these cases were for less extreme and much more nuanced situations and the reason they have to be dealt with case-to-case is that the parties involved may not want them opened up to scrutiny.
That premise of letting people ‘put it behind them.’
Elizabeth Warren knows all this. She did what she did because she assumed that all those folks — especially women — watching would react from the echo chamber of emotional chaos that she’s helped create around her repugnant proclamation that a very wealthy man must, by definition, be corrupt, and — according to Warren — should not be permitted to participate in this democratic process.
So when we are assessing Mike Bloomberg going forward, it’s fair to address his past behavior, but it is not fair to allow the shrieking, hyperbolic wild exaggerations of the likes of Elizabeth Warren try unchallenged to label him unworthy of basic human dignity because she thinks straight up lying is politically expedient.
If we are going to critique politicians on their merits, by all means, critique Bloomberg on his; but critique Elizabeth Warren on what she is telling you about herself as well.
About the Author:
Gayle Leslie is a writer, political consultant, published author, actor, and policy wonk publishing extensively on Medium and other platforms. She is a native Texan, graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and Circle in the Square Theatre School in NYC. She wrote her serialized memoir, Dwelling in the Vast Divine Vol. 1 & Vol 2. You can follow on Twitter at @gayleleslie7