- Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York mayor, expressed doubts about the #MeToo movement that could put him at odds with the Democratic Party.
- The media mogul used disgraced TV anchor Charlie Rose as an example and questioned whether allegations of sexual coercion and harassment against him are true.
- Irin Carmon, a reporter who led two investigations into Rose’s conduct, told Business Insider that Bloomberg was wrong to second-guess the dozens of allegations against Rose.
- Bloomberg says he’s considering a run for president as a centrist Democrat in 2020.
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York mayor, suggested doubts in a recent interview about the #MeToo movement, citing disgraced former TV news anchor Charlie Rose’s ousting from the media industry following harassment allegations against him.
“The stuff I read about is disgraceful – I don’t know how true all of it is,” Bloomberg said in an interview with The New York Times of allegations that have arisen as part of the movement against sexual misconduct.
Bloomberg, who is exploring a 2020 presidential run as a centrist Democrat, brought up Rose’s case unprompted, suggesting that he doubted the veracity of the allegations that Rose made crude and unwanted sexual advances on numerous women, many of them colleagues and subordinates, over the course of many years.
Rose, who was fired from CBS News and PBS after several women came forward with their allegations last fall, broadcast his nightly program – “Charlie Rose” – from Bloomberg’s company studios for years. Bloomberg also stopped re-broadcasting Rose’s interview-based show after the allegations surfaced.
“We never had a complaint, whatsoever, and when I read some of the stuff, I was surprised, I will say. But I never saw anything and we have no record, we’ve checked very carefully,” he said of the allegations against the 76-year-old journalist, which included that he groped women and exposed himself to them.
Rose apologised in a statement to The Washington Post after the paper’s initial story exposing the misconduct allegations last November, acknowledging that he had “behaved insensitively at times.”
“I deeply apologise for my inappropriate behaviour. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate,” he said. “I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realise I was mistaken.”
Bloomberg argued that the public should “let the court system decide” whether someone charged with sexual misconduct is guilty or innocent, despite conceding that most cases will never get their day in court.
“You know, is it true?” said Bloomberg, whose position on the #MeToo movement would undoubtedly anger many in the Democratic party. “You look at people that say it is, but we have a system where you have – presumption of innocence is the basis of it.”
Irin Carmon, one of the reporters who led two Post investigations into Rose’s conduct, suggested that Bloomberg was wrong to second-guess the dozens of allegations against Rose – many of which were corroborated by sources with contemporaneous accounts of the incidents. She added that while many alleged incidents occurred too long ago to be tried in court, three of Rose’s accusers have sued him.
“Since Mr. Bloomberg owns a news organisation, he probably already knows that the stories were extensively reported,” Carmon told Business Insider in an email, adding, “As for the courts, three of the women we spoke to are in fact now suing Charlie Rose and CBS, but many more have allegations that fall well outside the statutes of limitation.”
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