'The Exorcist' & Anita Hill's Soda Can Testimony Comparisons Are Inconclusive
There aren't a lot of reasons for The Exorcist to be brought up during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, but one of those few reasons came into play during the Clarence Thomas hearings, in response to an accusation made by Anita Hill. Thomas still vehemently denies her allegations. One such claim, though, inspired an interesting response during the hearings, as seen in the new HBO film Confirmation. In the movie and in real life, as seen in the hearing videos, Senator Orrin Hatch implied that Anita Hill's Coke can claims were inspired by The Exorcist book.
According to video of the hearing, the allegation that Hatch harped on was what Hill alleged as "an occasion in which Thomas was drinking a Coke in his office. He got up from the table at which [he and Hill] 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?'"
The Exorcist excerpt that Senator Hatch referred to did also feature a pubic hair sitting in a liquid, and a confusion as to how it got there. The text itself reads: "Dennings had remarked to him, in passing, said Sharon, that there appeared to be 'an alien pubic hair floating round in my gin.'"
While the situations are similar, the details of each situation are so unclear that it's hard to back-up the claim that one instance inspired the other. For his part, Thomas declined during the hearing ever saying that, reading the book, or seeing the movie.
Hill fought for her own rights, but at the end of the day, her claims were not enough to persuade the Senate from voting Thomas to a seat on the Supreme Court. The work that Hill did, though, set in motion the awareness of the issue of sexual harassment and started the battle that many women are still fighting today.
Hopefully, their stories aren't being compared to old horror novels.
Image: Frank Masi/HBO