Video Of Anita Hill's Testimony Proves 'Confirmation' Will Be A Crucial Movie To Watch
Almost 25 years ago, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill testified against Judge Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court nomination hearing, claiming he had sexually harassed her when they worked together, an allegation he adamantly denies. After all these years, as a new HBO movie called Confirmation about the controversy is released, it's worth returning to video of Anita Hill's testimony to hear her claims.
Thomas became — and still is — a Supreme Court judge, but Hill's testimony against Thomas brought up issues of alleged sexual harassment and racism in the United States, which will be portrayed in the movie starring Scandal's Kerry Washington as Anita Hill that is set to be released this weekend. For his part, Thomas said, "I deny each and every single allegation against me today that suggested in any way that I had conversations of a sexual nature or about pornographic material with Anita Hill, that I ever attempted to date her, that I ever had any personal sexual interest in her, or that I in any way ever harassed her."
So what exactly did Hill say in her contested testimony? Well, first she claimed that Thomas continually asked her to go out with him socially, but that she turned him down so as not to spoil their professional relationship, stating, "I declined the invitation [from Thomas] to go out socially with him and explained to him that I thought it would jeopardize what at the time I considered to be a very good working relationship."
Hill was Thomas' assistant when he was assistant secretary of education for the Office of Civil Rights and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Hill claimed that Thomas allegedly continued to harass her after asking her out, saying:
My working relationship became even more strained when Judge Thomas began to use work situations to discuss sex. ... On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess.
Thomas denied all of Hill's allegations claiming that her testimony and the ensuing hearing was a "high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves."
Before Hill gave her testimony in 1991, sexual harassment was rarely discussed publicly. However, The Daily Beast reported that after the outrage surrounding Thomas' nomination, then-President George H.W. Bush signed the 1991 Civil Rights Act, a law making it easier for women to sue on charges of sexual harassment. Not to mention that after Hill's allegations — and the months of investigation that ensued — the topic became unavoidable.
The video of her testimony gives insight into the case, and while Confirmation will try its best to accurately portray the situation, watching the testimony that happened in real life might give you an even better understanding.