Bloomberg Denies Admiring ‘Ass’ Out Loud, Ongoing Sexism

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media during a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a new soccer field on Brooklyn's Pier 5 on December 13, 2012 in New York City.
Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Perhaps the most repeated anecdote in Jonathan Van Meter's New York cover story on Christine Quinn is not about the mayoral candidate herself, but the man she hopes to replace and his penchant for commenting candidly on the appearances and fashion choices of the women in his orbit of male privilege. "Look at the ass on her," Michael Bloomberg said at a Christmas party, gesturing toward another guest in the presence of a reporter. It wouldn't be the first time the mayor was on record being crude about the ladies, as pointed out repeatedly this week — "I'd do her," "nice tits," etc. — but when asked about the quip, the 70-year-old unmarried billionaire snapped back: "I never said it and I don’t know where it came from. Next question."

The New York Observer's Hunter Walker pushed the issue, wondering if the line was part of a sexist pattern, to which Bloomberg responded, "Okay, you can write anything you want ... Don't be ridiculous. That's an outrage for you to say that."

Elsewhere in Van Meter's article, Quinn explains her own rapport with the mayor and his strong sartorial opinions:

“The mayor is going to yell at me when I get out of the car because I have flat boots on. The mayor has no use for flat shoes.” Really, I said. Why would he care? “I was at a parade with him once and he said, ‘What are those?’ and I said, ‘They’re comfortable,’ and he said, ‘I never want to hear those words out of your mouth again.’ ” Everyone in the vehicle, including the security detail in the front seat, cracked up. “He likes me in high heels. Let’s see how long it takes before he notices.” She scrolled through her BlackBerry. “Another big thing with the mayor, when I am rooting … like, the couple of days a week before I need to get my hair colored, he’ll say, ‘Do you pay a lot to make your hair be two colors? Because now it’s three with the gray.’ And I’m like, ‘Did you wake up being this big of an asshole? Or did it take, like, all day to ramp up to it to be able to insult me like that?’ ”

That kind of thing does not warrant a denial, according to Bloomberg today: "When we have conversations we joke about it," he said. "There's nothing wrong with that."