Anita Hill's Soda Can Claims Stand Out In 'Confirmation’ And In Real Life, Too
Though Supreme Court confirmation hearings may not necessarily sound like the stuff gripping dramas are made of, HBO's Confirmation has a lot to work with when it comes to Clarence Thomas' hearings. Appointed by then-President George H.W. Bush, the judge was eventually confirmed by the Senate, but not before law professor Anita Hill made allegations of sexual harassment against Thomas. Thomas vehemently denies these claims. One of the more bizarre details to emerge from these allegations was Anita Hill's claim about a Coke can being involved in one particularly upsetting instance of alleged harassment.
The soda can comment came during the opening statement of Hill's testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Oct. 11, 1991. After introducing herself, outlining her professional history with Thomas, and describing the starting point of the alleged harassment (which she claimed began when she turned down his invitation for a date), Hill went into some specifics about the kind of behavior she was allegedly faced with in the workplace:
The comments were random and ranged from pressing me about why I didn't go out with him to remarks about my personal appearance. I remember his saying that some day I would have to tell him the real reason that I wouldn't go out with him. … One of the oddest episodes I remember was an occasion in which Thomas was drinking a Coke in his office. He got up from the table at which we were working, went over to his desk to get the Coke, looked at the can and asked, 'Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?' On other occasions, he referred to the size of his own penis as being larger than normal, and he also spoke on some occasions of the pleasures he had given to women with oral sex.
As reported by Time, Thomas would go on to categorically deny all of Hill's claims, saying, "I have not said or done the things Anita Hill has alleged" and referring to the televised hearings as a "high-tech lynching" during his own testimony. Still, Hill's description of the alleged incident stands out from her over 2,000-word testimony.
You can hear the allegation in Hill's own words in the video below (the soda can claim occurs at the 14:55 mark), and see how Kerry Washington portrays the testimony when Confirmation premieres on HBO, this Saturday night at 8 p.m.
Image: Frank Masi/HBO