Why Bloomberg tried to get a reporter’s spouse to sign an NDA

David Folkenflik of National Public Radio reports on why Bloomberg LP tried to get the wife of David Forsythe, one of its reporters in China, to sign a nondisclosure agreement after it killed an investigation that Forsythe reported in 2013.

Folkenflik reports, “In late 2013, Bloomberg News suspended Forsythe, accusing him of leaking word of the controversy to other news outlets. The company would later fire him. He soon landed at The New York Times.

“Forsythe declined to comment for this story. In leaving the company, he signed a nondisclosure agreement that bars him from speaking publicly about his time at Bloomberg News. Others from the China investigative team would leave the company in the years that followed, each having first signed an agreement not to disparage the company. In at least one case, a journalist signed the nondisparagement deal in part to prevent the loss of a month’s pay.

“Lawyers for Bloomberg News pressured someone else to sign a nondisclosure agreement: Forsythe’s wife, Fincher.

“They threatened to force Forsythe and Fincher to pay back the tens of thousands of dollars spent to move their family to Hong Kong after the death threats. Bloomberg also threatened to sue to make the couple pay the company’s legal costs, pushing the dollar amount well into the six figures.

“‘There was no reason why I should have to sign a nondisclosure agreement,’ Fincher tells NPR, ‘because I didn’t possess any damaging material about the company.’”

Read more here.