Watch Elizabeth Warren Explain Reality of Pregnancy Discrimination to Male Journalist
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews aggressively questioned Elizabeth Warren on whether she thought competitor Michael Bloomberg lied about allegedly telling a pregnant employee to “kill it.”
After Tuesday’s shouting match of a debate, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren sat for an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews—who aggressively grilled her on an accusation she made against Michael Bloomberg.
The veteran news anchor asked Warren repeatedly whether she thought her competitor Michael Bloomberg would lie about allegedly telling a pregnant employee to “kill it” — revisiting an exchange that became a more memorable moment from the largely incoherent debate moderated by CBS News in South Carolina. (Bloomberg said onstage that he “never said it.”)
“Do you believe a former mayor of New York said that to a pregnant employee?” asked Matthews, who apologized this week for comparing Bernie Sander’s victory in the Nevada primary to a Nazi invasion.
“Well, a pregnant employee sure said that she did. Why shouldn’t I believe her?” Warren replied.
Warrens then said the issue is personal for her — she has often cited an early-career moment of hers in 1971, when she says she was fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant.
“Pregnancy discrimination is real,” Warren said. Matthews then interrupted, “But you believe he’s that kind of person who did that?”
Warren then elaborated on her previous points about Bloomberg’s NDAs with former women employees.
“The whole point is, how can you actually trust someone who will not just say, ‘Look, I’m going to waive on disclosure on sexual harassment and discrimination. Anybody who has a story to tell can come tell their story.’”
Matthews then repeated his question, asking Warren if she thought her competitor was lying.
“I believe the woman,” she said.
Matthews: "You believe he is lying."
Warren: “Which means he’s not telling the truth.”
Matthews went on: “And why would he lie? Just to protect himself?”
Warren: “Yeah. And why would she lie?”
Matthews asked her again to affirm the accusation.
Warren: “All I know is what she said and what he said. And I’ve been on her end of it in the sense of discrimination based on pregnancy. It happens all across this country, and men all across this country say, ‘oh my gosh, he never would have said that.’ Really?”
According to a criminal complaint shared by the Washington Post, Bloomberg’s former employee alleged that when she told him she was pregnant in 1995, he said, "Kill it! Great! Number 16!" referring to 16 other women in the company being on maternity-related status. The complaint also said "sexual degradation of women at Bloomberg LP was pervasive."
According to the Post, Bloomberg has denied the allegation under oath and reached a settlement with the employee. A third-party witness backed up the allegation to the Post.
In 1978, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which outlawed treating pregnant employees differently because of “ability or inability to work.” According to a 2019 report in the New York Times, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission has fielded an increasing number of pregnancy discrimination claims over the past two decades, which last year were “hovering near an all-time high.”
Chris Matthews apologized after being caught on tape joking before interviewing Hillary in 2016, “Where’s that Bill Cosby pill I brought with me?” MSNBC acknowledged paying a settlement in 1999 to a woman who complained of Matthews’ sexual remarks; he was formally reprimanded. https://t.co/S0ljlTgUOI— Irin Carmon (@irin) February 26, 2020