Is The Letter From The Cashier To Anita Hill Real? 'Confirmation' Shows An Emotional Scene
The HBO film Confirmation, which retells the story of the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas controversy, will be aired on April 16. The film centers around Hill's sexual harassment claims that were revealed by a leak to the press when Thomas was nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court in 1991. Thomas vehemently denies her claims. At the end of Confirmation, Hill returns to her office at the University of Oklahoma, where she was a law professor at the time, to find a box of letters from women who have faced sexual harassment, and in the film, one of these letters is from a grocery store cashier. Although Hill has praised the film's good work, is the letter from the cashier to Hill real? It is unclear if the letters depicted in the movie accurately reflect the exact ones Hill received in real life, but Hill told the website Broadly that she did receive countless letters from survivors.
Hill began working under now-SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas in the Department of Education in 1981. President George H.W. Bush nominated Thomas to succeed Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1991, and that's when Hill's accusations of sexual harassment surfaced. Thomas has denied Hill's accusations, but Hill has remained committed to her story. During the hearing, Thomas said, "I have not said or done the things Anita Hill has alleged" and compared the hearings themselves to a "high-tech lynching."
In an interview with The Today Show, which aired on April 11, Hill talked candidly about her feelings on Thomas serving on the Supreme Court. "I don't think I really have to become at peace with him being on the Supreme Court," she said. Hill added that she doesn't have any interest in interacting with Thomas. "I don't think that there's any real need. I think he's staked out his position and I've certainly held to mine."
According to a Flavorwire review of Confirmation, the film ends on a powerful note by showing the extent to which sexual harassment affects women all over, yet how many remain silent on the issue.
Confirmation closes with another reminder of the limited influence of private citizens in the face of institutional power: Hill returns to her office at the University of Oklahoma and finds boxes upon boxes of letters waiting for her. She opens one and reads it out loud; it’s a thank-you note from a woman who works as a cashier and whose boss “has treated me like his personal property” for years.
There are no records showing that a female cashier sent Hill a thank-you letter describing her own experiences with sexual harassment from her supervisor. However, in an interview with Broadly, Hill revealed that she did, indeed, receive letters from victims of sexual harassment.
There were about 25,000 of them. You get a small sense of what I have in my files when you see the film. But ultimately those letters just kept coming and coming and coming. So no, I haven't answered all of them.
Hill hasn't revealed the people who sent her letters in the past, or what there professions were, but she did admit that she hasn't had a chance to get through all 25,000 of them. Because of this, it's possible that a cashier sent a thank-you note to Hill in 1991, as portrayed in the film, but it is not certain. Even if that can't be confirmed, here's an important tweet from Kerry Washington (who plays Hill in Confirmation) on why this case matters.