Leigh Vogel—Getty Images
It’s been more than 25 years since Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Clarence Thomas — then a Supreme Court nominee — had sexually harassed her while working as his subordinate at both the Department of Education and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.
The 1991 televised hearings that showed an articulate Hill practically on trial for her unfavorable statements against her former boss, polarized the nation and forever married Hill’s name to workplace harassment. Now, in the wake of #MeToo‘s viral attainment, Hill has received an apology from the Chairman of that infamous hearing — former Vice President Joe Biden.
The prominent Democrat recently told Teen Vogue, “I wish I had been able to do more for Anita Hill. I owe her an apology.”
This isn’t the first time Biden has apologized for his less than pro-active performance during the hearings. The popularly held opinion — also held by Hill — is that Biden did far too little to protect the African American law professor from Republican lawmakers who viciously set out to portray Hill as a liar and discredit her recollection of the events that transpired between her and the conservative Supreme Court nominee. Hill herself told the Washington Post last month that the then-Senator from Delaware still doesn’t get what he did wrong and charged him as being part of the problem.
Still, Biden’s attempt at reconciliation continues.
Following the Anita Hill controversy, Biden endeavored to “right his wrongs” by supporting the installation of women Senators on the all-male Judiciary Committee.
“I believed Anita Hill. I voted against Clarence Thomas. And I insisted the next election — I campaigned for two women Senators on the condition that if they won they would come on the Judiciary Committee, so there would never be again all men making a judgment on this,” Biden told Teen Vogue.
And last year, then-Vice President Biden along with the White House started the It’s On Us campaign that encourages men and women across the country to help put a stop to campus assaults. He told Teen Vogue, “We’re now at a point here where we have a chance to change the culture.”
Whether or not Hill accepts Biden’s apology is unknown, but what is already known is that Hill’s testimony in 1991 was not for naught.
This year’s public reckoning of men who use their power to intimidate and assault women has re-surfaced the testimony of the recently appointed Chair of the Hollywood Commission for Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. It appears that the women’s movement that transpired after her hearing has reconvened once again and Anita Hill’s name remains at the forefront.
You may like
Get The Essence Newsletter and Special Offers delivered to your inbox!