Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against Brett Kavanaugh have drawn many comparisons to the case of Anita Hill, who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment 27 years ago. On Wednesday, a group of allies leaned into the connection: 1,600 men signed an ad backing Ford and Hill in the print version of The New York Times, paralleling an ad from Hill's time. "We believe Anita Hill," the ad reads. "We also believe Christine Blasey Ford."
The full-page advertisement was circulated on a GoogleDoc and crowdfunded on MightyCause with donations exceeding $100,000. It references the 1991 New York Times ad signed by 1,600 black women in support of Hill after she was criticized for her testimony. Both Thomas and Kavanaugh denied allegations against them.
"Today we follow in the footsteps of those courageous women," reads the statement in the ad. "As men who are allies in the fight to end violence and harassment against women and girls, we write to express our strong support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford ... We believe survivors, and we call on men of good will to stand with us to ensure that Dr. Blasey Ford's story is carefully and fully examined without bias or prejudice."
The ad also demands an end to "a culture of misogyny [that] has allowed men to act with impunity and without consequence."
The project was sponsored by the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, an organization that raises money for various female-centric causes, including the Dr. Maya Angelou Foundation and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. As of Wednesday afternoon, the fund for the Times ad had raised nearly $135,500 from 2,900 donors; the campaign says that any money raised over $100,000 will go towards violence prevention programs.
Hill's own ad came out in the Times on Nov. 17, 1991, a month after she testified about her alleged harassment from Thomas in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The advertisement was a powerful show of support for her amid harsh backlash, especially since most Americans didn't believe Hill in the direct aftermath of her hearing.
Bates professor Leslie Hill (no relation to Anita) told the college that she remembers the exciting moment when the ad came out 27 years ago. She was in Atlanta, and once the news of the statement of support began circulating, "We bought every copy of the Times that was in Atlanta that day."
That ad stated that signatories were "outraged by the racist and sexist treatment of Professor Anita Hill," and added, "This country, which has a long legacy of racism and sexism, has never taken the sexual abuse of Black women seriously."
Wednesday's ad about Hill and Ford also condemns the culture around sexual assault:
Too frequently, survivors of sexual assault are forced to suffer in silence. Those who choose to speak out often face backlash, skepticism, and ridicule. As we've seen once again the last few weeks, that kind of virulent backlash is most acutely on display whenever those accused of misdeeds are powerful men. If appointed to the Supreme Court, few men would be more powerful than Judge Kavanaugh. We are a group of men with varying political and legal views. But we each believe women should no longer have to carry these burdens alone.
Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Oct. 15, 1991, a month before the Times ad was released. But Kavanaugh's process is still ongoing. Dr. Ford is set to testify about her allegations on Thursday and the Senate Judiciary Committee has announced its intention to hold a vote on Friday.