January 18, 2013

"Who of a certain age could forget when a bookish black woman named Anita Hill addressed a Senate committee of 14 white men..."

"... and candidly spoke of graphic sexual harassment by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas? The explosive, race-tinged hearings in 1991 had all of America, especially black America, captivated. Sexual politics became part of the lexicon, and Hill became a divisive figure. We know what became of Thomas — now we get a rare glimpse into Hill's private life with friends and family, who stood by her through it all."

From "14 Films That Matter at Sundance" at The Root.

87 comments:

Revenant said...

Oh man, I totally forgot to give a shit about what Hill has been doing with her life.

Wait, no I didn't. I just never cared in the first place.

MayBee said...

No matter what you do, there will always be friends and family who will stand by you and tell you that you did the right thing.

bagoh20 said...

I think she lied. I think most people on both sides think she did.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Ah yes, Anita Hill. The original Crystal Gail Mangum.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Professor Hill demonstrated true courage when she refused to give her testimony from the back of the hearing room.

traditionalguy said...

If progressive war propaganda can't Bork em as mean white men, then it will Thomas them using the myth of Sexual Lust in Black bucks. It worked on Herman Cain recently.

Lucien said...

Scenario 1
Boss syas something stupid.
Subordinate says: "Boss, you shold be careful about saying things like that, because some people could take it the wrong way and be offended."

Scenario 2
Boss says something stupid.
Subordinate says nothing, but waits until he or she can disclose the information to gain $$ or harm Boss's career.

If you are a boss, which scenario would prefer, and which subordinate would you help along more?

Does this have implications in whether certain protected classes of subordinates will face "glass ceilings"?

chickelit said...

Sonic Youth immortalized Anita Hill in their vituperative anthem: "Youth Against Fascism (1992)"*

Black robe and swill
I believe Anita Hill
Judge will rot in hell
It's the song I hate, it's the song I hate


_________________
*Exhibit A in the left did the fascism thing first

Molly said...

Very few people actually believe that Thomas's behavior (if Hill's assertions were correct) made (or make) Thomas not qualified for the Supreme Court. A few on the right (Hatch? you could google this) did say, "If he did what she claimed he should not be confirmed." But most on the right established such a high burden of proof that it was unlikely to ever be met. Those on the right believed that Thomas's judicial philosophy made him unsuitable, and were happy to use Hill's claims to achieve their objective. But almost nobody on the left thought that Clinton's behavior (which was definitely proven, and which was much worse) should disqualify him from the Presidency. I think we need to face up to fact that as a society, we actually do not think that sexual harassment of co-workers or subordinates is really that big of a deal.

Michael said...

She is a very very bad person. See Lance Armstrong below.

gregq said...

Do we get to look at all the reasons to believe that she lied from beginning to end?

Molly said...

I meant "those on the left" believed his philosophy made him unsuitable. Sorry for sloppy proofreading.

n.n said...

Was the Democrat's effort to marginalize or remove Thomas the impetus for Republicans to impeach Clinton (for perjury and sexually exploiting a subordinate)?

gregq said...

Let's be clear:

Anita Hill went to work for a private firm. She sucked, and was fired. She invented a tale of sexual harassment, and told that to her friend to explain why she left the firm.

Thomas gave her a chance, and hired her. She sucked there, too, and had to move off to academia, where being a black female was the only "qualification" she needed.

The friend conflated Thomas w/ the sexual harassment story, and got the ball rolling.

How incompetent is Anita Hill? She's so incompetent, that despite being a cause celeb of the Left, as well as being a black, female, law professor, she is still stuck at a podunk law school, accomplishing nothing.

Darleen said...

Anita Hill :::spit::: would have never gotten away with this now in the age of the internet.

Darleen said...

I think we need to face up to fact that as a society, we actually do not think that sexual harassment of co-workers or subordinates is really that big of a deal.

Molly, can you define for me what is objectively "sexual harassment". Because the so-called egregious acts alleged by Anita Hill :::spit::: don't appear to qualify.

EDH said...

"Who of a certain age could forget when a bookish black woman named Anita Hill addressed a Senate committee of 14 white men... candidly spoke of graphic sexual harassment..."

All they left out was the Don LaFontaine "In a world.." movie trailer cliche.

Actually, wasn't it all allegedly verbal sexual harassment?

And didn't blacks support Thomas's nomination?

Robert Cook said...

bagoh20 said...

"I think she lied. I think most people on both sides think she did."

I think she told the truth and he lied.

I have no idea what most people on either side think.

Tank said...

My impression at the time was that she was part of a desparate Democrat ploy to keep a conservative black man off the court.

My recollection is that her actions did not reflect one being sexually harassed in any way.

Tank said...

Wait desparate ??? WTF?

edutcher said...

And who were the ones who "believed" Ms Hill?

Teddy Kennedy, Howard "The Banker" Metzenbaum, Patrick "Persimmon Lips" Leahy, and our own President of Vice, Joe "Put Y'All In Chains" Biden.

Thomas has made a greater contribution to this country than all five.

bpm4532 said...

I don't know what was in it for Anita Hill except to stop a black conservative Supreme Court justice. She may have made these claims before and felt compelled or was pressured to stick with her story. Many people have maintained a lie to save face. Many people have stuck with their beliefs in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Writ Small said...

I may be totally naive, but I believe Anita was unmotivated by politics and merely wanted to bring unacceptable behavior to light.

I may be totally naieve, but I also believe that when feminists gave Clinton a pass on his treatment of female subordinates, it reflected their ability to appreciate the subtlety and nuance of human interaction.

dbp said...

Dear Abby,

Let's say you know a man, he hires you and does what he can to promote your career. He is honest and ethical, but his politics are the opposite of mine.

I find out that he will be appointed to a position of very high influence where his philosophy would, in my opinion, do great harm.

Is it okay for me to lie about him to keep him from this position?

Signed,

AH

Fandor said...

Anita Hill is on the LECTURE CIRCUIT, still telling her lies and making money doing it on college campuses (where else), where young minds can be molded.

Bryan C said...

"I think we need to face up to fact that as a society, we actually do not think that sexual harassment of co-workers or subordinates is really that big of a deal."

That's because we, as a society, don't believe that most of the stuff defined as "sexual harassment" is that big of a deal. This includes most of the women who use those laws to their advantage.

Robert Cook said...

"Thomas has made a greater contribution to this country than all five."

What contribution has he made at all?

Or are you being snarky, and insinuating that, as undistinguished and mediocre a justice as he has been, his non-achievements are still greater than all by those five you name?

Robert Cook said...

Writ Small said:

"I may be totally naive, but I believe Anita was unmotivated by politics and merely wanted to bring unacceptable behavior to light.'

You're not naive at all, but see Ms. Hill's actions accurately.

Fandor said...

Anita Hill is on the LECTURE CIRCUIT, still telling her lies and making money doing it on college campuses (where else), where young minds can be molded.

Colonel Angus said...

What contribution has he made at all?

Being a cancelling vote of one of the dim bulb leftists on the bench is enough.

Colonel Angus said...

What exactly were the unconscionable crimes Thomas supposedly did again? I can only recall some joke about a pubic hair on a coke can.

wyo sis said...

If people really do think sexual harassment is no big deal cases like this and Bill Clinton are a big part of the reason for that.

Hagar said...

I read Justice Thomas' autobiography, and with the timeline of his life that he gives - and I assume is accurate, since it could so easily be checked and presumably would be - I do not see that Anita Hill's version of their interactions could possibly have happened.

Mick Havoc said...

I got through the last 2 decades without thinking about Anita Hill or Sonic Youth.

Thanks, thanks a lot.

David said...

Truth is, we do not know what happened. Maybe she lied. Maybe she exaggerated. Maybe she told the truth. It's not so hard to see that she could have been trapped into a small initial lie and then felt unable to recant when it got bigger than she ever imagined.

(How do you like that image, Mr. Fitzgerald?)

madAsHell said...

"Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?"

Yeah.....Miss PrimAndProper needs a sense of humor. Cuz that's funny!

Did she ever find a man to her liking??
No??
I never would have guessed that!

Henry said...

Graphic? Graphic sexual harassment? Did he mock her handwriting? I guess standards have changed.

You could write a history of the double standards at play. Call it 50 Shades of Graphic by the mainstream media.

Colonel Angus said...

If people really do think sexual harassment is no big deal cases like this and Bill Clinton are a big part of the reason for that.

There is sexual harassment and then there is boorish behavior. The problem is today's lack of distinction for both.

Revenant said...

But most on the right established such a high burden of proof that it was unlikely to ever be met.

That would be a more convincing argument if there had been any sort of proof at all, or even evidence.

But there was just an accusation and nothing else.

Carol said...

I just brushed up on this event, and saw that there were 4 more witnesses to support her testimony, but they weren't called. I guess the GOP side cried uncle and cut a deal.

Looking back, his behavior doesn't seem like a *terribly* big deal, but I shudder to think how everyday crude behavior in the workplace made life miserable for people like my mother.

I was working in the bars, where it was a given.

campy said...

Truth is, we do not know what happened

Robert Cook does. If he is sure, that should be good enough for all of us.

David said...

Joking aside--and from many points of view this is no joke--I believe Thomas. Mainly I believe him because of demeanor (I watched a lot of this) and because there have been no accusations of similar conduct against him, even though God Knows people have been looking for it.

The conduct alleged was so crude and stupid that it's highly unlikely he would have done this only with Anita Hill.

traditionalguy said...

But when all is said and done,Clarence Thomas is still a cornball black.

Actually Thomas is a great example of a man in real poverty going to a Catholic Jesuit school and learning how to think better than most other men.

That made Thomas into a Republican but also made him the worst nightmare of the party of myths sold to everyone who cannot think straight.

Big Mike said...

@Mom-Jeans, in my book you won the thread at 11:36.

David said...

Carol said...
I just brushed up on this event, and saw that there were 4 more witnesses to support her testimony, but they weren't called. I guess the GOP side cried uncle and cut a deal.


That's right, Carol. Four people who could have sunk Thomas but were not called because the Democrats "cut a deal" to put Thomas on the court anyway.

Four people who (if they exist) never said a word under oath.

As I said, we can not know for sure. But crap like your comment is why so many people are so sure that Thomas was a crude, piggish man.

David said...

Actually Yale and its aftermath made Thomas into a Republican.

That's opposite the usual Yale effect, which shows what an independent thinker Thomas is.

Levi Starks said...

I too am having trouble understanding how a verbal harassment can be described in graphic terms.

MadisonMan said...

That quote sounds better if you imagine Don LaFontaine reading it.

(scrolls down and sees that EDH made the same point)

Oh well. No one thinks I'm original anyway. :)

Broomhandle said...

Whether or not Hill lied is totally irrelevant. I know this because the Left spent 1992-2000 telling me it was.

Mike said...

I wonder why Joe Biden insisted on an agreement -- before AH would testify -- that the GOP on the Judiciary Committee would not call Anita's four friends for their allegedly corroborative testimony. That seems odd, doesn't it? Very few fabulists are willing to tell their tales under oath.

DADvocate said...

Bookish? That no good lying slut was bookish? Never knew.

EMD said...

Question: Does it matter that Anita Hill was black?

Question: Does it matter that the Senators were 14 white men?

Question: Why do those most likely to condemn others of racism keep stating everything in racial terms?

DADvocate said...

Damn! Where that pubic hair on my Coke can come from?

Robert Cook said...

"Truth is, we do not know what happened."

"Robert Cook does. If he is sure...."

I don't claim to know what happened. I said I believe Anita Hill.

If you say you believe Thomas, does this mean you know what happened?

edutcher said...

Robert Cook said...

Thomas has made a greater contribution to this country than all five.

What contribution has he made at all?

Or are you being snarky, and insinuating that, as undistinguished and mediocre a justice as he has been, his non-achievements are still greater than all by those five you name?


Justice Thomas' scholarship is highly regarded in conlaw circles.

OTOH, We've never really heard of Ms Hill after that (at least Monica made something of herself), Teddy Kennedy never improved, Joe is still insane, Leahy blew the Achille Lauro rescue mission, and Metzenbaum wasn't known as Howard "The Banker" for his crusade for fiscal integrity.

So, yeah, I'd say I'm justified.

Hagar said...

@Robert Cook,

No, but we can be pretty sure we know what did not happen as regards Anita Hill's story..

Penny said...

In the middle of this mess, it no longer mattered if Thomas or Hill was telling the truth about what happened back then.

It was nearly TEN YEARS later and all about the feminists, the politicians and the activists.

That Ms. Hill doesn't seem to mind being metaphorically screwed over every decade or two is troubling to me.

Furthermore, I've concluded that her co-opters have a lot more to answer to than did Clarence Thomas.

Marshal said...

Writ Small said...
I may be totally naive, but I believe Anita was unmotivated by politics and merely wanted to bring unacceptable behavior to light.


Two events doomed AH:

1. Several other women from their offices came forward and asked who this demure AH was. The real AH was a cutthroat office politicker.

2. If these events were so traumatic to her why did she follow Thomas when he changed jobs/firms?

campy said...

I don't claim to know what happened.


Writ Small said:

I may be totally naive, but I believe Anita was unmotivated by politics and merely wanted to bring unacceptable behavior to light.

To which Robert Cook replied:

You're not naive at all, but see Ms. Hill's actions accurately.

I'm glad to learn you simply left the qualifiers out the first time.

I do not claim to know what happened, but I do believe Thomas. That belief is based on what I saw and heard as I watched CSPAN extensively that day.

damikesc said...

I think we need to face up to fact that as a society, we actually do not think that sexual harassment of co-workers or subordinates is really that big of a deal.

The problem we have is that she followed him to subsequent jobs, even when the new heads of agencies they worked at asked her to stay.

She didn't mention the harassment to anybody for years. Her "friends" had it "occurring" during periods where they did not work together.

It seems...well, non-existant.

Marshal said...

I think we need to face up to fact that as a society, we actually do not think that sexual harassment of co-workers or subordinates is really that big of a deal.

I don't think this is true at all. CEOs of major corporations have lost their jobs because of sexual harassment. The problem is people put so much emphasis on politics they're willing to suspend the rules for allied politicians.

dreams said...

Liberals have to do what they have to do to achieve their goal which is for our own good, plus, it makes them feel so good.

AllenS said...

Not one black man that I worked with at that time believed her. Especially the ones chasing white women.

Rusty said...

It was all a dog and pony show for the rubes out in the hustings.

She said, he said.

And once again half the mouth breathers bought it.

Baron Zemo said...

Sexual harrasment laws is only an employment problem for straight white men. They will get fired. Everyone else gets a pass.

Unless of course you are Bill Clinton or any other liberal politican who loves baby killing. Then you get a pass.

You just have to keep your head down in this world or the political correct posse will cut it off.

Welcome to Barrack Obama's America.

Baron Zemo said...

Clarence Thomas is of course a "white" man to the liberal mob.

He is not "black" enough for them.

Darrell said...

Cookie is a good useful idiot.
He probably believes that Bill Clinton's semen on the blue dress proves nothing. He a solier in the "good" fight.

Anita Hill lied and it was apparent from all the witnesses that appeared in the wee hours of Monday morning on TV. PBS waited until most people went to sleep before they showed any witnesses supporting Thomas' statements. The law professor talking about having Thomas and Hill help him at a country house was one of the two clinchers for me. After the multi-day session, he told Hill that he could not give her a ride back but would take her to the nearest town and get her a car there to take her to the nearest train station. Keep in mind that this was after all of the incidents she related. Instead, Hill said that she would catch a ride with Thomas--if he would take her. And he said he would. As the professor said, why would she want to place herself in a car alone on a several hour drive if she feared him? Or even if he had done what she alleged? He first heard her stories during the hearings and the thought of her smiling and getting into the car seemed totally incongruent.

William said...

I wonder if the writer would think that fourteen black men would be less prejudicial in their judgement than fourteen white men. Is there any evidence that black or hispanic men are less sexist than white men? I think there's considerable evidence that feminists are prejudiced against conservative white men.....Anita Hill has thrived and prospered on the basis of her testimony. Monica Lewinsky has had her life blighted.

DADvocate said...

The biggest (sick) joke of the entire hearing was that Ted "Sink or Swim" Kennedy was on of those 12 white men. I must admit, though, he was an expert in sexual harassment.

Beach Brutus said...

Over time we remember the episode generally but lose track of the details. But on this one I remember exactly when the AH balloon was burst and why those other four witnesses failed to testify.

I was home sick the day that AH's girl friend testified and watched the hearings on TV. AH made the accusations but it was supposed to be her friends corroberation that would do the real damage.

Conservatives may have had justified doubts about Sen. Arlen Specter on fiscal and social issues, but he was a gifted trial attorney, and his cross of this friend destroyed her credibility. By the time he was done she looked almost collusive in defamation.

gregq said...

Carol said...

"I just brushed up on this event, and saw that there were 4 more witnesses to support her testimony, but they weren't called."

You left out an important word: "credible". Was there any reason to believe those "witnesses" actually had anything valid to say?

Democrat controlled Senate. if anyone "cried uncle", it was the Democrats.

damikesc said...

The problem is people put so much emphasis on politics they're willing to suspend the rules for allied politicians.

No joke. FEMINISTS gave Clinton a de facto "one free grope" rule.

rhhardin said...

Anita Hill's own witness proved her to be lying.

Susan Hoerchner minutes 20-29

Thomas's harassment was so bad, she reported, that her sympathy expressed to Anita Hill on the phone if anything made her feel worse.

Hoerchner doesn't understand the workings of sympathy. It can't make the victim feel worse, unless the victim is making it up.

Molly said...

I may be totally naive, but I think Writ Small was tongue-in-cheekily echoing the Althouse post from 9:24 last night.

whoresoftheinternet said...

Steve Sailer nailed this one rather offhandedly.

What really happened was this: Hill and Thomas were two single, upwardly mobile blacks of the same class and correct ages at the time working in the same office, so there was a general consensus that they should be an item. In fact, there was sexual tension between them, as Hill and Thomas's awkward recollections attest to---Thomas flirted poorly with Hill, and Hill responded positively and sexually openly to the bad flirting. Two black nerds trying to mate.

But Thomas wasn't looking to settle own with a left-wing sista, he'd had his fill. He was already on the road to his judicial philosophy which black women would have no part in, and had had a bad marriage to a black woman, and a mother who'd abandoned him. He wanted a non-black girl who shared his view points.

So not only was Anita Hill rejected as a long-term mate, she got turned down for a white girl! By a black man! The perfect black man for her!

After they parted, her anger cooled, but the idea of Thomas getting to the S.C. with a white woman on his arm---that white devil!---to get her, ahem, Irish up.

All it took was a few little Demon Rat Devils on her shoulder, whispering and reminding her about her humiliation in favor of a white woman, and Anita Hill was ready to take any minor incident of Thomas's awkward flirting, which she'd previously been open to, and turn it into "unwanted harassment."

Then she got her lefty sinecure professorial appointment for her trouble.

Hell hath no fury like a black woman scorned for a white piece of ass.

eddie willers said...

One good thing came out of this.....after watching the racist, hate-filled eyes of Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden, THIS lifelong Democrat of 38 years vowed to never vote for a Democrat again.

I have kept that promise.

campy said...

I may be totally naive, but I think Writ Small was tongue-in-cheekily echoing the Althouse post from 9:24 last night.

Yes, I would bet you are correct.

Penny said...

Whoresoftheinternet, is to be admired for practicing the craft of fiction right here on Althouse.

You obviously have the passion for it, and show impressive creative ability.

Cool that you used real names here too. Thomas Hill gave it some "heft".

Lawyer Mom said...

I don't have a clue who was telling the truth, if either of them, though I did find "Strange Justice" fairly compelling.

In law school I had a prof who absolutely lambasted a fellow for being unprepared -- after he respectfully explained he'd stayed up all the night before, watching the beginning of our invasion in Desert Storm. She totally leveled the poor guy.

Later, when Anita Hill was testifying, the same prof cancelled class and told us all to go home to watch this historic moment.

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

"Cookie is a good useful idiot. He probably believes that Bill Clinton's semen on the blue dress proves nothing."

It proves Clinton had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

rcocean said...

She got a lot more than 30 pieces of silver.

rcocean said...

Anita Hill is a Lesbian. In case that matters to all those theorizing about the supposed Hill-Thomas "sexual" relationship.

Lawyer Mom said...

@rcocean -- so was actress Anne Heche. It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind.

chickelit said...

Lawyer Mom said...
@rcocean -- so was actress Anne Heche. It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind.

Disagree: I gay guy could never sexually harass me.

chickelit said...

Threaten me, cajole me, undermine me, dissuade others against me...but never sexually harass me.

Tom from Virginia said...

It's been more than 20 years since the Anita Hill testimony. The only complaints about Clarence Thomas since that time have been he sings too loudly in church and never speaks during oral argument. To me, that's probative as to who was probably lying and who was probably telling the truth.