Bloomberg, who is Jewish, apologized through a spokesman in a New York Times article published Thursday.
“Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong,” Stu Loeser, the spokesperson, said in the statement Thursday. “He believes his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life.”
The rhetoric appeared in a booklet that employees of Bloomberg’s private firm gave him in 1990. It contained quotes attributed to him.
“If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of Bloomingdale’s,” Bloomberg was quoted as saying in the booklet, titled “The Portable Bloomberg: The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg.”
Bloomberg also joked, according to the booklet, that the Bloomberg terminal, a reference to a product produced by Bloomberg’s digital data company, could “do everything,” including oral sex. “I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business,” Bloomberg is quoted saying.
Some of Bloomberg’s controversial statements became campaign fodder during his successful 2001 race for mayor, running on the Republican and Independence Party lines.
Bloomberg came under fire after being quoted in a 1998 deposition that he’d believe a rape claim if there was “an unimpeachable third-party witness”. A saleswoman claimed a Bloomberg manager raped her. That’s “not what he believes,” Loeser said Thursday.