Anita (2013) Script

Good morning, Anita Hill.

It's Ginni Thomas, and I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something.

I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.

So, give it some thought.

I certainly pray about this and hope that one day you'll help us understand why you did what you did.


Have a good day.

Can you tell the committee what was the most embarrassing of all the incidences that you have alleged?

I think the one that was the most embarrassing was his discussion of pornography involving these women with large breasts engaged in a variety of sex with different people or animals.

That was the thing that made me feel the most humiliated.

He got up from the table, looked at the can and asked

"Who has put pubic hair on my coke?"

On other occasions, he referred to the size of his own penis as being larger than normal.

I was threatened, that sexual violence threatens my job.

Bomb threats to my house, packages that were viable.

This is where I got the voicemail message from Ginni Thomas.

But it was still quite shocking to come and actually sit at my desk and be at the phone and hear this voice.

You know, I, uh, frankly thought this has got to be somebody impersonating her.

But either way I thought, whether it's her or someone impersonating her, this is an important call.

After all, I thought, you know, if this is someone really trying to get a witness to change her sworn testimony, we ought to know about it and we ought to know who's doing it.

And I am very proud indeed to nominate him for this position and I trust that the senate will confirm this able man promptly.

I expected to be a part of the vetting process.

When I heard about the nomination, it was the summer time and it was a typical hot summer in Oklahoma.

The school session was out.

The FBI and the background checks were very extensive.

You know, anybody and everybody, especially who's ever worked with a person will get a call.

And that's what I expected to happen.

Once I got the call specifically directed at me from the Senate itself, once that call came, I knew what I had to do.

We understand that you experienced sexual harassment at the hands of Clarence Thomas.

That was what I answered.

More specifically about the behavior.

Pressuring for dates, the sex talk in the workplace, the feeling that my job was really in jeopardy.

But that was also, uh, what I said, you know, I really would like to have a chance to do a statement in my own words.

I don't want this to be a political witch hunt.

And I sent it in believing that it would be confidential, but believing that the senators would take it into account.

I suspected that there would be other women.

And that they needed to... To really fully investigate it and not just rely on my statement.

And so I sent it in with my name and it was leaked.

Good evening, from Congress to the White House to the workplace, the sexual harassment storm around Clarence Thomas is intensifying.

The battle over his Supreme Court nomination has now triggered a nationwide debate about sexual harassment on the job.

We are outraged that the senate is not taking seriously, uh, these allegations of sexual harassment of a black woman.

Most of us don't understand, uh, what sexual harassment is.

And if you're sexual harassed, you ought to get mad about it and you ought to do something about it and you ought to complain.

Instead of hanging around a long time and then all of a sudden calling up anonymously and say, "Oh, I want to complain."

I still think they should investigate further just because he's gonna be a Supreme Court justice and he's gonna be making decisions that's gonna affect the entire country.

I felt that as a citizen, as an individual who had information that it was my obligation when approached to come forward and I did that.

Mrs. Hill, by coming forward, have you been a victim twice?

You know, I hate to use those kinds of terms.

Reliving this experience has...

I mean, it has been really bad for me.

I mean, it's... I can't even describe.

It was bad enough to experience it once.

It is an unpleasant issue.

It's an ugly issue.

And people don't want to deal with it generally and in particular in this case.

Until I wrote that statement to the Senate, I really hadn't allowed myself to sit down and put together all the details of what had happened.

And how awful it was and how painful it was for me to have to leave work that I loved in order to escape it.

No comment. Thank you.

I don't have any comments, thank you.

I really just want to go in to teach my class.

I can talk to you about contracts if anybody's interested.

Even after it was leaked, no one on that committee...

They had voted it out.

They were not interested in hearing from me.

But they started hearing from the public.

Stop Thomas now! Stop Thomas now!

Stop Thomas now!

Stop Thomas now! Stop Thomas now!

And now we're going over to tell the Senate that we are enraged.

Women like Eleanor Holmes Norton and Patricia Schroeder marched over to the Senate and got turned away by the Sergeant at Arms, because they were out of order going over to the Senate side.

Um, that, the pressure that they began to exert and then the public followed.

And said, "You have to reconvene the hearing."

I think America's women really want to see this body start doing something for them than to them.

To any victim of sexual harassment or sexual abuse or sexual violence either in the street or even in their own home, the message is, nobody's gonna take you seriously, not even the United States Senate.

Once I did get the phone call from Joe Biden and found out that I was going to testify, that I was gonna be subpoenaed, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do.

I had no idea what I was gonna get into.

As a private citizen, I was watching this on television.

I was watching it in the newspapers.

I was totally disconnected, I mean, literally in the middle of the country in Oklahoma from what was going on in Washington, D.C.

Sexual harassment is a serious matter.

This is a hearing convened for a specific purpose.

To air specific allegations against one specific individual.

Allegations which may be true or may not be true.

I didn't expect any part of the investigation of a Supreme Court nominee to be partisan.

I assumed that everybody on the Senate Judiciary Committee wanted to make sure that they were putting somebody who was ultimately qualified and who was of the highest integrity.

She just had no idea that she was walking into the political lions den and that supporters of Justice Thomas would be out to shred her credibility.

Welcome, Professor Hill.

It literally didn't to occur to her that an opposition campaign would be waged against her.

Mr. Chairman, Senator Thurmond, members of the Committee, my name is Anita F. Hill and I am a professor of law at the University of Oklahoma.

I was born on a farm in Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.

I am the youngest of 13 children.

My purpose was to as clearly as possible tell the Senate about behavior that I had experienced at the hand of Clarence Thomas.

I couldn't say, "Oh well, I'm gonna prove sexual harassment."

I couldn't do that.

I could say, "This is what I'm gonna do.

I'm gonna tell what happened to me."

In 1981, I was introduced to now Judge Thomas by a mutual friend.

He was, in fact, appointed as Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights.

He asked if I would become his assistant and I accepted that position.

After approximately three months of working there he asked me to go out socially with him.

What happened next and telling the world about it are the two most difficult things, uh, experiences of my life.

It would have been more comfortable to remain silent.

But when I was asked by a representative of this committee to report my experience...

I felt that I had to tell the truth.

I could not keep silent.

Can you tell me what incidences occurred of the ones you've described to us occurred in his office?

Well, I recall specifically that the incident about the coke can occurred in his office at the EEOC.

And what was that incident again?

The incident with regard to the coke can that's spelled out in my statement.

Would you describe it once again for me, please?

The... Um, incident involved his going to his desk, getting up from a work table, going to his desk, looking at this can and saying, "Who put pubic hair on my coke?"

Was anyone else in his office at the time?


Again, it's difficult, but for the record, what substance did he bring up in this instance at EEOC in his office?

What was the content of what he said?

Well, this was a reference to an individual who, um, had a very large penis.

And he used the name that he had been referred to in the pro...

Pornographic material.


Do you recall what it was?

Yes, I do.

Um, the name that was referred to was "Long Dong Silver."

I mean, it was awful.

And it was, it was awful, it was disappointing and I had to deal with all those emotions and then try to stay focused on why I was there.

Why I knew I was there.

The issues that you raised about Judge Thomas, you referred to as an ugly issue.

Is that how you viewed these conversations?

Yes, they were very ugly.

They were very dirty and the... They were disgusting.

Now, again, for the record, did he just say...

"I have great physical capabilities and attributes."

Or was he more graphic than...

He was much more graphic.

Can you tell us what he said?

Well, I can tell you that he compared his penis size.

Uh, he measured his penis in terms of le-length, um, those kinds of comments.

The spectacle of those hearings, in some ways was created by the all white male judiciary committee.

Clumsily trying to ask questions about what was then not a familiar subject, sexual harassment.

It was unusual in how graphic the details were and strange.

The whole country was k-kind of going places that it hadn't been together before.

I can remember in that hearing room which is like Rococo and very beautiful and thinking when I heard the words pubic hair said in this setting that just seemed truly a bit surreal.

But in order to speak to the facts of who said what, you know, those details did come pouring out.

But they all looked rather foolish talking about things like "Long Dong Silver" and other matters.

That the most embarrassing question involved...

This is not too bad, women's large breasts.

That's a word we use all the time.

That was the most embarrassing aspect of what Judge Thomas had said to you?

No, the most embarrassing aspect was his description of the acts of these individuals, these women.

Uh, the acts that those particular people would engage in.

It wasn't just the breasts, it was...

They thought that the more they pressed on these details and got Anita Hill to repeat them, the more absurd and made up they would seem.

I think they were trying to trip her up because they, like, couldn't believe things like this would or could be said.

They were humiliating her a little bit too by making her go over this again and again and again.

And she was an interesting witness.

I mean she was so calm and poised.

I noticed there are a number of people sitting behind you.

Are any of them your family members you'd like to introduce?

Well, actually, my family members haven't arrived yet.

Yes, they have. They're outside the door.

They weren't here for my statement.

Well, we will, uh, make room for your family to be able to sit down.

It's a very large family, Senator.

When they walked through that door, I knew that I had what it would take to get through that day, however long it lasted.

At the time my parents were 79 and lived a pretty sheltered life.

But it didn't matter.

What really mattered to them was that their daughter was going to be questioned under oath.

She had always told me throughout my life that I was stubborn.

And so, I knew I was stubborn.

Because she had told me I was stubborn and at that point, it paid to be stubborn.

This is not too bad, I can read it.

Thomas liked to discuss specific sex acts and frequency of sex.

Close quote.

Now, are you saying, in response to my questions to why you didn't tell the FBI about the size of his private parts and his sexual prowess and "Long John Silver" that that information was comprehended within the statement, quote, Thomas liked to discuss specific "sext" act...

Sex acts and frequency of sex?

I am not saying that that information was included in that...

Senator Specter, he took an adversarial role.

It was clear that Specter had come in with a closed mind.

He wasn't open to hearing the facts.

That was really, uh, a real disappointment, I think, to people.

They didn't understand.

In fact, they thought that I was on trial.

But when you testified that, as I wrote it down, quote, we ought to look at pornographic movies together.

That was an expression of what was in your mind that he...

That was the inference that I drew, yes, when his...

With his pre-pressing me for social engagements, yes.

That that was something he might have wanted you to do, but the fact is flatly, he never asked you to look at pornographic movies with him.

With him, no he did not.

Well, I do think they thought, maybe we can just wear her down if we keep asking questions and keep badgering.

Maybe, you know, she'll give us something that we'll be able to take out and, you know, use against her.

We all came together

'cause we were concerned about her.

The reason I got involved, it was pretty amazing.

If you look around Anita Hill, even if you look at the photograph of those who volunteered to help her, there were no black men who supported her publicly.

In fact, some had tried to persuade her to not testify against Clarence Thomas.

You don't do that to a brother.

And she says, "What? Look what happened to me."

It was sort of a startling revelation to me that here's a woman who has been harassed much of her professional life and has had to keep it a secret like so many thousands of women around the country.

And I thought it was important that I stood with her, that I wouldn't want it to happen to my wife, uh, to my mother, to my daughter.

And so that to me was an important step.

When you're talking about a handful of middle aged and older men who just were uncomfortable with this subject matter.

Ted Kennedy, his own life was so compromise, that he could barely speak up.

I mean, and there were Saturday Night Live skits about him with a paper bag on this head.

The Democrats really didn't rescue Anita Hill as they could have.

And the Republicans were busy basically disemboweling her.

There you have the Chairman of the EEOC, the Nation's chief law enforcement officer of sexual harassment.

And here you have a lawyer who's an expert in this field, later goes on to teach civil rights and has a dedication to making sure that women are not discriminated against.

How could he allow this kind of reprehensible conduct to go on right in the headquarters without doing something about it?

Well, it was a very trying and difficult decision for me not to say anything further.

I can only say that when I made the decision to just withdraw from the situation and not press a claim or charge against him, that I may have, uh, shirked a duty, a responsibility that I had.

I remember at the time there were very few of these cases that had been heard by judges.

Judges, even though the laws weren't above, were very resistant to them.

Most of us resisted and gave every impression that these advances were unwanted.

But most of us did not file a complaint against our harassers.

We look for better work most of the time.

In trying to determine...

whether you had telling falsehoods or not...

I've got to determine what your motivation might be.

Are you a scorned woman?


Do you have a martyr complex?

No, I don't.

Well, do you see that coming out of this that you can be a hero... uh, in the civil rights movement?

I do not have that kind of complex.

I don't like all of the attention that I'm getting.

I don't... I... I would not, even if I liked the attention, I would not lie to get attention.

And the impression is that, is he giving her a hard time?

No, he was asking her the questions that somebody sitting in Alabama or Mississippi or South Carolina or Oklahoma might want to hear.

Why are you doing this?

That's that was his question, why are you doing this?

Who are you?

And that was her chance to say, I'm none of those things.

I'm a law professor, I love my students, I want to teach them the law.

Did they ask you if you'd be willing to take a polygraph?

They asked if I would be willing to take a polygraph.

And what did you say?

I answered yes.

The issue became my character as opposed to the character of the nominee.

When a student happened to say that he saw pubic hairs in an exam, that's just below the belt.

They went to the ends of the earth to find dirt on Anita Hill.

I mean, they were digging through students she'd had in-in law school and these were these kids joking about how there might be pubes in their term papers.

Next thing they knew, there were people calling from the US Senate wanting affidavits so they could get the alleged pube and put it under a microscope.

Miss Hill's character and credibility has been assailed from the beginning.

It was my judgment, given the accusations that had been made over the last few days about fantasy, about grudges, about being a martyr, about light skinned versus black skinned women, that this has just gone too far...

We knew that there's no saving this.

This is just a charade.

We weren't going to be able to put on witnesses, we weren't going to be able to do anything in the Senate.

That's why we said, let's go get a polygraph test.

Let's have our hearing outside and let the public know that.

Are you lying to me about the various topics that Clarence Thomas mentioned to you regarding specific sexual acts?

Are you lying to me about Clarence Thomas making reference, uh, references to you about the size of his penis?

And it was my opinion that there was no indication of deception to any of those relevant questions.

I would call home every night to check in.

My daughter was just 12 years old.

They said she wanted to talk to me.

I said, "Rashida, what are you doing up, uh, close to midnight on the Sunday night?"

She said, "Daddy, I was watching the hearing."

I said, "Rashida, you shouldn't be watching this."

"Well, I just wanted to tell you."

"Tell me what?"

"I believe Anita."

And that to me brought it all home.

I hope we're not going to hear a lot more comments about fantasy stories.

Or how there've been attempts in the eleventh hour to derail this, uh, this nomination.

I hope we can clear this room of the dirt and innuendo and I hope we're gonna be sensitive to the attempts of character assassination on Professor Hill.

They're unworthy.

But let me tell ya, if what you say this man said to you occurred, why in God's name, when he left his position of power or status or authority over you, and you left it in 1983, why in God's name would you ever speak to a man like that the rest of your life?

That's a very good question.

And I'm sure that I cannot answer that to your satisfaction.

I really loved the work that I was doing and I loved the chance to work on issues where there was...

There were age discrimination, tasteless or race discrimination cases, gender in the employment arena.

And that's why I went to the EEOC.

At the time that I moved to the EEOC, the behavior had stopped.

And that's all I wanted.

People misunderstand that harassment is about the sex.

It's really about control and power and abusing it.

Do you think that he got some pleasure out of seeing you ill at ease and vulnerable?

I think so, yes.

Was this feeling more so than the feeling that you might...

That he might be seeking some type of dating or social relationship with?

I think it was a combination of factors.

I think that he wanted to see me vulnerable and that if I were vulnerable, then he could extract from me whatever he wanted.

Whether it was sexual or otherwise that I would be at his, uh, under his control.

I just answered the questions and really said, you know, it's not gonna last forever.

You did not characterize Judge Thomas's conduct as sexual harassment when you gave the statement to the FBI, correct?

Well, Senator, I guess I'm not making myself clear.

I was not raising a legal claim in either of my statements.

I was not raising a legal claim.

I was attempting to inform about conduct.

I did find it shocking.

What I got was questions that really weren't very well informed on the one hand and then, questions that were hostile on the other.

So that you are not now drawing a conclusion that Judge Thomas sexually harassed you?

Yes, I am drawing that conclusion.

Well, then, I don't understand.

Pardon me? That I don't understand.

Well, let me try to explain again.

I expected them to be better informed.

There were experts who offered to testify about women's experiences in the workplace who could have helped the staffers prepare the senators.

It seems to me that the behavior has to be evaluated on it's own with regard to the fitness of this individual to act as an associate of justice.

And the reasons we're here is that it's very difficult for some of our colleagues to deal with issues of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is painful, it exists, it's real, it's not imaginary.

There's not only a gender gap in our country, there's a gender chasm.

Sexual harassment is every bit as evil as any other type of unethical conduct.

Did you discuss it with anybody at that time?

Yes, I did.

One thing Anita told me that struck me particularly and that I remember almost verbatim was that Mr. Thomas had said to her, "You know if you had witnesses, you'd have a perfect case against me."

Anita Hill told me that she was upset because her boss was making sexual advances towards her.

I saw the news stories about Anita Hill.

And I instantly remembered the fact that she had told me about her dealings with Clarence Thomas.

I remember saying to myself, she's about to get creamed.

I remember this because I don't use creamed, it's not a word I use a lot.

But it... that came out that way in my own mind.

She's about to get creamed and I feel really bad for her.

In the fall of 1982, Professor Hill shared with me in confidence the fact that she considered Judge Thomas's behavior toward her in the office to be inappropriate.

She did tell me they were sexual in nature.

I remember talking to her by telephone while she was in the hospital.

And she explained to me that what she was suffering from appeared to be job related, job stress related.

And taking this phone call from her.

And she was in a bad mood and prodding her to tell me what was bothering her.

Professor Hill responded reluctantly and with obvious emotion and embarrassment that she had been sexually harassed by her supervisor at the EEOC.

It was so absurd, the idea that the head of the EEOC would engage in sexual harassment.

I'm not sure I know what...

What is and isn't sexual harassment, but the idea that they would engage in what seemed like repeated, unwanted advances...

Um, was just so incredible.

I wonder how many tens of thousands, of millions of men in this country, work for a boss who treats them like a lackey, tells them to do certain things and stay on the job.

And we never ask why does that man stay on the job?

My mother told me, um, and I'm sure Anita's mother told her when you leave, make sure you leave friends behind because you don't know who you may need later on.

And so you at least want to be cordial.

I know I get Christmas cards from people that I don't see from one end of the year to the other and quite frankly, do not wish to.

And I also return their cards and will return their calls.

And so you grit your teeth and you do it.

Did she ever indicate to you that she was a zealous cause person?

I am a...

I am a corporate, sort of a Wall Street lawyer, by profession and...

And I would consider myself a militant compared to Anita Hill.

If someone had asked me a few weeks ago, I would say that I could imagine Professor Hill coming before this committee in a very different capacity as a judicial nominee herself.

I think her opportunities for that now have, uh, have been destroyed.

I think she paid a big price.

She said what she said.

I and it turned out three other people at least had heard the same story seven years ago.

And I couldn't figure how anyone could reconcile it otherwise than being the truth.

Why would someone make up this story in order to use it seven years later?

It just... I couldn't understand it.

This wasn't about the truth, it was about winning.

And that's it...

Well, it's about politics which is always true about Washington.

Do you have anything to gain by coming here?

Has anybody promised you anything by coming forth with this story now?

I have not gained anything except for knowing that I came forward and did, uh, what I felt that I had an obligation to do and that was to tell the truth.

And my last question.

Would your life be simpler, quieter and far more private had you never come forth at all?


Norman, Oklahoma is a much simpler, quieter place than this room today.

Do you think now having told your side and responded to these questions that you reputation from your standpoint could ever be fully restored?

Not in the minds of many, never and will not be.

Again, I thank your family and... Yes?

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the committee for its time, its question and the effort that was put into this investigation on my behalf. Thank you.

Thank you. Adjourned till 9 o'clock.

Everybody was exhausted and perplexed.

There was a sigh of relief having gone through those nine hours.

But you knew it wasn't over.

Do you have anything you'd like to say...

Senator, I would like to start by saying unequivocally, uncategorically, that I deny each and every single allegation against me today that suggested in any way that I had conversations of a sexual nature or about pornographic material with Anita Hill that I ever attempted to date her, that I ever had any personal sexual interest in her or that I in any way ever harassed her.

I think that this today is a travesty.

I think that it is disgusting.

I think that this hearing should never occur in America.

This is a circus.

It's a national disgrace.

And from my standpoint as a black American, as far as I'm concerned it is a high tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.

To do for themselves, to have different ideas.

And it is a message, that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you.

You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S...

U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.

The testimony turned because Hatch basically had figured out that the thing that would really get Justice Thomas's dander up was to have him talk about race.

Sort of pushed him on the subject of race.

You said some of this language is stereo...

Stereotyped language?

Senator... What does that mean?

I don't understand.

Language throughout the history of this country and certainly throughout my life.

Language about the sexual prowess of black men.

Language about the sex organs of black men and the sizes, etcetera.

That kind of language has been used about black men as long as I've been on the face of this earth.

I hate the term "the race card."

It's sort of like, race and racism in America is something...

It's a playing card. You just play it.

That unnerves me to no end, but...

But that's what he did.

Uh, you know, I mean... I mean, look at that.

"High tech lynching?"

Come on, that's absurd.


That's just absurd that could work.

That you could make that claim and everybody could back off.

They didn't challenge him when he said that.

They didn't say, "Wait a minute, what about the legal lynching of the black woman, uh, who's a victim of harassment that we heard from witness upon witness"?

Why didn't they call all the other witnesses that were there and that had testimony?

They didn't want to appear to be going after a black man who said I didn't do it.

And for them, the case was closed.

Think about the imagery of it, I mean, it...

This is a guy who's been groomed by the White House and Republican leadership to take this job in some respects.

I mean, how establishment can you be?

You cannot be any more established unless you are the President of the United States.

And yet you accuse...

You accuse people of lynching you?

I think metaphorically, black people who had in fact been lynched must have been rolling over in their graves.

I think it was strategically brilliant.

It compounded that it wasn't just a woman and a man, but it was a black woman and a black man.

How did they deal with the race issue in a way that made a lot of sense?

And for them, they just said "Let's stay away from it."

And at that point, the whole...

The whole storyline changed.

And it was no longer...

The issue was no longer sexual harassment of Anita Hill so much as it was the racial victimization of Clarence Thomas.

As we say out in the Wild West, this is an impossible thing.

And now I really am getting stuff over the transom about Professor Hill.

I've got letters hanging out my pocket, I've got faxes, I've got statements from her former law professors, statements from people that know her, statements from Tulsa, Oklahoma, saying, "Watch out for this woman."

But nobody's got the guts to say that because it gets all tangled up in this sexual harassment crap.

This entire proceeding is ended.

What bothered me at the end of the hearings was official Washington said that the truth was unknowable, that it was the quintessential he said, she said story and who will ever know?

Like where the truth lies.

And as a journalist, I feel strongly if you dig into and behind any story diligently the weight of evidence and the preponderance of information does at the very least, help you get to a more definitive answer.

Joe Biden, he really is in the end, responsible for not having called the witnesses who could have corroborated Anita Hill and I think that there were a lot of facts here that a number of people would rather not think about and they didn't want the public to know.

It was in the interest of both the Republicans and the Democrats in some ways conducting those hearing to bring the curtain down.

Uh, just not have it be center stage anymore.

Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!

Professor Hill, I want to thank you for your patience here today.

You've shown remarkable courage throughout your testimony.

It couldn't have been easy to sit here for the last seven hours and talk about and talk about penis size.

Or large breasted women having sex with animals.

Or pubic hairs on soft drink cans.

Then we parted company at the airport in Washington D.C. and she went back to Oklahoma and I went back to Cambridge.

There was a depression, like what is she gonna do?

I would not be honest if I didn't say that the hearings changed my life.

They changed the trajectory of my life.

They changed how I'm perceived by the world and they changed in some ways the way I perceived the world.

I'm Ray Hill.

I'd like to introduce my sister Anita.

She'll be m-making a brief statement and taking no questions.

I guess after this welcome that I received today, I don't have to tell you that it's good to be home.

I missed all of you.

You are all absolutely wonderful and without your support, I could not have made it through these last 72 hours.

I just kept thinking about my friends, uh, my family and I include the law school family in that back here in Oklahoma.

I was raised to do what is right and can now explain to my students first hand that despite the high cost which may be involved, it is worth having the truth emerged.

What I hope and intend to do over the next few days with your help and support is to get back to my normal routine.

I cannot wait to get back in the classroom.

Uh, I'm gonna teach my class now, excuse me and I don't know what the rest of the day will be.

I was the first African-American tenured at the law school.

I was very proud of that.

But I was proud of my work and I worked to be a good teacher.

When I was in that classroom space, it was wonderful.

Good evening, I...

After the vote, did you think, "Darn it."

I mean, were you disappointed that...

Well, I really don't want to comment on the vote.

I... after the vote, I thought...

I really wasn't focused on the vote.

I was thinking about this week and I don't have any comment on the vote.

Did you discuss it with any of your law students today, Professor?

We talked about the process.

Uh, we talked about, uh, our government.

We talked about the hearings a little bit.

Uh, and they're all curious and-and hopefully this will be a learning experience for them.

Do you have anything to say to Justice Thomas, uh, at all? You want to...

I have no, comment on that, really.

When I came home I very much hoped that I was going to be able to resume life.

I quickly learned that I was going to have to accept a new normal.

I was confronted on the streets, accused of lying face to face.

Some I didn't have any way of knowing when it would happen.

So, either I was gonna be inside and hiding forever or I was just gonna go out and deal with it.

And I chose the latter.

The state politicians, who were Republicans, started trying to get the school to fire me even though I was tenured.

And then my Dean well, then, they took off after him.

And they tried to get him fired.

Well, they tried to close the law school.

Was threatened with just about everything.

Death, sexual violence bomb threats to the school, bomb threats to my house.

Packages that were vile or messages that were vile.

I have a file cabinet full of them.

Women who have experienced the same thing who have written and said now for the first time they can talk about it.

And that's important.

What I hope is that none of this will deter others from coming forward.

This is an important issue and the dialogue should not stop here.

For the good of everyone, it became apparent that I needed to move on.

This elusive quest for home existed with my family.

My grandparents had set up a life in Arkansas, but there was an incident that occurred.

My grandfather was threatened.

He was warned by a friendly white neighbor that there was a group of men that wanted to lynch him.

They left everything and moved to Oklahoma.

Oklahoma was not the deep South.

So there was a perception that there was much more racial tolerance.

My siblings started out in segregated schools.

So, I saw some of both the segregation of the past and the integration that was going to be the future.

My parents always made sure that we, uh, we were aware that there were things that we were not allowed to do freely.

So, it was a...

It kind of an interesting dance that they did.

To be at once protective, but also to have high expectations.

They always said, you know, you gotta be twice as good to get half as much.

And they expected us to be twice as good or more.

In my home there was not so much talk about fighting against the system as fighting to get as much as you can out of it.

My mother eventually did have six daughters and seven sons.

And six of her seven sons went to the military before they went to college.

There are a lot of people encouraging you when you're the youngest of 13.

And that was great, that was absolutely fantastic.

Now this was where our mailbox is.

Ultimately we got a little bit closer to the postal service.

And the mailbox was here so we only had to walk a quarter of a mile, or half a mile to get to our mail.

I was on the verge of this new chapter in my life, moving from Oklahoma to Massachusetts which seemed pretty much like a foreign place at the time.

So these letters were coming in daily, there'd be trays of mail coming in.

And I started reading them, but I was so emotionally raw that it was just impossible.

Inside these file cabinets are letters that I've received over the last 19, 20 years.

There're probably at this point about 25,000.

I guess it's human to say, well, why did this happen to me?

And they helped me understand why it was happening and that it really was something that was bigger than me.

I think we can...

We can look at one, I have, for example this one came in October.

It's dated October 17th, 1991 which was less than a week after I testified.

And it says, "It's unfortunate that you had to be subjected to scurrilous attacks.

You and you alone made the public cognoscente of the sexual harassment that is prevalent in the workplace.

For this, the women of America will be eternally grateful.

I and many like me sincerely hope that you will have a very bright future which you richly deserve."

And this is from a man.

I made a deal with myself.

I would go out and I'd talk about sexual harassment, but for two years.

At the end of two years, I mean, we'll fix this.

We'll have it done.

It'll be over and I can go back to my commercial law and contracts which was what I was teaching.

We didn't fix it.

We made some strides.

But there were still all these misunderstandings out there.

What would you say sustained you in the aftermath of that kind of scrutiny including some of the most vicious commentary that I have ever read?

I don't think that there has ever been an attack on a witness who really had absolutely nothing to gain.

And someone said it wasn't as though they were going to give you the seat if they didn't give it to him.

Uh, people think when they think of those hearings they think, "Okay, he had a race and she had a gender."

Um, but, you know, it was the combination...

It was really the combination of my race and gender.

And it changed the dynamics.

I remember one moment when it was just overwhelming I just remember having some sort of meltdown with my mother.

And then I realized how I had been able to get through the hearings.

Because she stopped me and she said, "You know who you are and you know what you can do.

And don't ever doubt yourself."

Most of us have everything we need to get through a crisis.

We just have to tap into it.

Ultimately I decided that I would write the book about the hearing and then my life really changed.

And I just said, you know, I'm going to be a public voice for gender and equality.

The more I understood about sexual harassment, the more I understood that it was only part of the problem.

Sexual harassment is just part of a larger issue of gender and equality.

And I didn't know that until I started hearing from people.

And I am hearing from a lot of men.

Men relating to it in terms of their daughters.

These daughters that they've raised who now have all these opportunities to achieve and advance.

Those daughters being harassed really is something that provokes them to say, you know, enough.

We have to stop this.

The ability to use race as a divisive tool politically.

And it's just like anything, after a while, it loses its impact.

Also, like if you look at the Obama administration, he comes in and he's not playing on people's fears.

He's saying, "No, we're all different.

Let's unite."

I wanted to develop a course that took advantage of the energy behind the Obama election.

That helped us to think about how his policies fit into the social justice models.

This is so fulfilling, you and the students, things click.

And then you think, this is a absolute, most fulfilling thing in life.

And I always thought of teaching really as not only teaching students about where the law is, but teaching students about where it can be and what it can do.

I've learned an awful lot here and it's been a great experience.

And the things that I'm able to do with the issues that I care about, I think I would never have been able to do at the law school in Oklahoma.

The pressure to keep me quiet, to keep me out of the public eye would have been so great that I could not have done the kinds of things that I've done.

What I was meant to do with my life.

But I also knew that if I am not public then there will be a sense of victory that they will have over me.

The Oklahoma legislature extends its warmest welcome and directs me to give you this citation.

At the ripe old age of 3 years and 9 months I was forced to relinquish my position of baby in the family to our speaker for this evening.

I present to you this evening, my parents baker's dozen and my little sister Anita Hill.

Thank you, sis, and I am just thrilled to be back in Oklahoma.

What do you think of Clarence Thomas's wife's phone call to you recently?

At first, of course, when I got the call I thought it was a prank.

And just a sort of a prank.

I couldn't believe it would be actually Ginni Thomas calling my office on Saturday morning at 7:30.

I did not want the hearing.

I didn't want it to become a punchline.

But I know so many of you are probably thinking about, um, well, 1991.

It was in fact, 20 years ago.

Twenty years ago.

I can tell you with absolute certainty that testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee was not on my bucket list.

But it wasn't my testimony that caused change.

What allowed us to move forward, what allowed record numbers of women to file complaints against employers, what allowed employers to change their workplace policies, what allowed the election of record numbers of women in the Congress and in the Senate.

That was you.

That was your voice, your voices.

Are you married now?



Uh, I'm in a very, very good relationship now and, uh, it's very... It's good.

I was a partner with, I think 12 other guys in a restaurant in Waltham where Brandeis is.

And I was with a couple of friends one night and this woman walked through the door.

And I said, "I'd better make sure that woman gets good service.

Excuse me."

And I walked over and I said, "If you need anything I'll be right over here."

I walked over and, uh, apparently she didn't eat anything because I looked up and she was, like, walking out the door.

So I went to the door and I said, uh, "Please co-come back in and let me buy you a glass of wine."

And she said, "Yeah, sure."

And I can almost see her eyes rolling.

And she left, never to be seen again until a year later.

Luckily I was in the restaurant.

And she came in, so I said to the manager, "I'm going home to get a great bottle of white wine I just brought back from France.

Don't let her go anywhere."

Went home, got the bottle, came back, he put it on ice.

He wrapped the towel around it, served it to her and her friend.

After dinner, I walked up and the conversation became lengthy.

That was 11 years ago, 11, 12 years ago.

What stood out with Anita's family is how close they are.

You can see the love there.

Jeanna, yes, that's my sister Joanne's daughter.

Eric and Jeanna's brother Jerry brought her up the aisle.

Jeanna's father is deceased.

She had a picture of him in her bouquet.

And I think we just all had a great time.

Just to be with my family and extended family having fun.

That's a close, loving family.

She's lucky.

I want to personally thank you, Anita Hill.

Thank you for illuminating the complexities of female powerlessness and for describing how cowed and coerced a woman can feel when she is hit upon by a man who controls her economic destiny.

Twenty years ago you had the courage to tell the truth and do what women rarely did then.

Make a scene.

But thanks to you, Anita, we and our daughters and our granddaughters now feel empowered to press the emergency button and report offensive behavior.

When former congresswoman Pat Schroeder first ran for the house, Pat was asked by one of the good old boys on the Hill, "How can you be a congresswoman and a mother at the same time?"

And Pat famously answered, "Because I have a brain and a uterus and I use both."

This Hunter College event, it was just this great combination of new generation women, as well as women, like Gloria Steinem.

What does Anita Hill mean to us today?

I remember everybody was talking about Anita Hill and sexual harassment.

I grew up knowing that it wasn't okay and that if it did happen to me and it did, that it wouldn't be my fault.

And that there was something that I could do about it.

And if I can give that to the next generation when street harassment happens to them, that it's not okay.

Then that will be a win.

Our work in the New York City Public Schools so that we can protect all students from sexual harassment and gender based violence is so critical, uh, at this time.

And it wasn't until as an adult that I really realized the shoulders that we're standing on.

What she stood for in 1991 still resonates with all of us.

And that she stood up not just for herself, but for my three granddaughters.

Ten, seven and three, who are growing up in a world where they know they are and can be the best possible that they can be because Anita Hill stood up in 1991.

Thank you, Professor Hill, for opening doors for all of us.

And I wonder if you could share the moment that we'd realized that this was something beyond a single moment of testimony.

I had lots of support from, uh, women.

But John Frank was an individual who volunteered.

He had been an expert on the Supreme Court and the confirmation process.

He came to me in tears, literally in tears.

And he said, "I know this is very hard for you.

But you have no idea of how important this is to our country."

And I was at that point just trying to get through the rest of the day.

Um, it was as though he had looked into the future and seen you today.

Having had to deal with so much, how do you, um, deal with fear?

Not over it, not under it, but through it?

Thank you. Thank you.

I know that there were times when I was afraid.

And I knew that there were times when I'd, you know, stepped out and I didn't know what was gonna happen to me next.

But everyday I woke up knowing that the thing that caused me to be fearful, that testimony was the right thing to do.

Knowing that you have that truth, then that's really the way to deal with it.

You don't have to be alone.


You don't have to be alone.

Every year since the hearings, they have a gathering.

These women are on fire.

They care about each other.

They care about the work they do.

They are enthusiastic about gender equality.

Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and give Anita Hill a big round of applause.

People ask the question, like, what about voice?

How can I have a voice?

I really found my voice in 1991.

And having found it, I won't lose it again.

And if we celebrate Martin Luther King, think about what he showed us by example.

That dignity and courage were more effective tools than bullying and making positive change for this country.

I am here today because so many people before me struggled for my dignity, for my freedom and for justice.

And for that I try to live each day with a heart full of grace.

So when I say, raise your voice, I mean, raise your voice where ever you find it.

You went to the Anita Hill conference, yeah?

So, who here knows about Anita Hill?

And what are some things that we can do, what have we learned from workplace harassment.

I can only imagine how difficult it must have been with her testifying and it seemed so scary and especially how I know, um, in our society there's a lot of victim blaming and a lot of blaming the person and people, "What was she wearing and how was she acting and did she invite that?"

The parallel is learning from Anita Hill's strength to speak out.

People are behaving this way because no one told them it was wrong in the first place.

So starting off by telling them it's wrong from a younger age then, we're grooming a new generation and a new future.

What I am most encouraged by is that young people are engaged and able to articulate what they want in terms of gender equality.

This is I feel like especially from what you guys wrote for what sexual harassment is.

Maybe you've seen it happen or have experienced it yourselves.

So, now we're gonna do an activity called, okay or not okay.

I got "Touched your butt on the subway" and I really think that's not okay.

I was like a block away from my house and like four guys in a car were like whistling and putting their hands out the window and it scared me half to death.

Everybody I know, a lot of people that are getting harassed and they just give up and they don't tell their parents because they feel that they're gonna get in trouble.

They feel that it's their fault so they cut themselves, a lot of people.

It happens to more people than you think it happens to.

And that that's a really important factor to remember that you're not the only one going through with it.

We shouldn't just stand by each other and watch each other be harassed like this.

We need to help each other and tell people what's going on.

Not enough people are doing enough to stop it.

So if you can really like either get a guidance counselor in on it or just you try and understand or talking to them about it I think would make a big difference.

If something happens to you or if someone's harassing you, that's not your fault.

And I just want everyone to know that it's not you.

Like you're fabulous, you're amazing and you didn't do anything to attract that.

The world is yours.

As spokespeople for the kind of change that you want.

And I think the audience would agree with me that these young women are incredible, wonderful spokespeople.

I was given hope that I could retire now.

And the next generation is in good hands.

We really have been building of what on an understanding of what equality means.

Whether we fight for gender equality or racial equality or equal rights, uh, based on sexual identity.

We have a much better understanding of what it takes to get there in 2011 and 2012 than we had in 1991.

Despite all the inequalities that exist in the world I still believe with all my heart that we are on the verge of something monumental and profound.

And I still want to be a part of that change.

I hope that life's hardships have taught you to face every adversity with honesty, dignity, integrity and courage.

And I can attest that honesty, dignity and courage is what will be remembered.

Well, it hasn't every day and every moment of it wonderful.

But in the end, you know, I can't think of any other way to do it.

People see me today and they expect me to have on that blue dress

'cause that's what they remember.

Here... Here they are. How about this?

It's the blue dress. Yeah.

I have not worn this blue dress since 1991 when I took it off at the hearings.

It went to the cleaners and then it's been in my closet since.

I didn't really have that much time to think about it, honestly.

But there's no formula for what to wear before a Senate Judiciary hearing.

Someone told me that they were in Ghana after the hearing and a tailor was designing this dress for women there, that women were requesting that dress.

So, um, through the magic of CNN it became a fashion statement.

As well, maybe as a political statement.

I'm so happy we're doing this tonight.

Anita Hill, thank you so much for being here tonight.

Good morning, Anita Hill.

This here's Sojourner Truth.

There's so much racket.

There must be something outta kilter, Anita Hill.

But what's all this here talking about?

Just thought I'd reach out to ask you across the airwaves and the years, Anita Hill, and ask you to consider something.

Anita Hill, please don't tell nobody, no how, nowhere, never, no way that you're sorry.

Anita Hill, please don't you apologize, child, because for one thing, you told the truth.

Don't you just love that play on my name?