Before she transcribed this interview, our intern told me that she wasn’t entirely sure who Anita Hill was. I could hardly blame her. Even with a segment on the Anita Hill testimony during a gender studies class in college, I didn’t know too much about Anita Hill myself.
The new documentary,”ANITA,” revisits Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 after she revealed that her former employer, Clarence Thomas, had sexually harassed her. A quiet law professor in Oklahoma, Hill had privately revealed the sexual harassment she suffered under Thomas, which was then leaked to the press. Immediately thrust in the public eye, she was asked to publicly testify against Thomas and decided to go for it. Sexual harassment laws were on the books, but this was the first time in many people’s memory that a woman subordinate to a very powerful man had spoken out. Not at all surprisingly, Hill was repeatedly asked to repeat graphic testimony about Thomas’ behavior; she was accused of being a liar or a “scorned woman”; and worst of all, treated as if it were her character that was under consideration. That both Hill and now Supreme Court Justice are both Black only added another layer of pressure to her decision to speak up. Thomas famously accused the 14 all-white men seated on the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Hill’s allegations of conducting a “high tech lynching.” (He later blamed “pro-choice liberals” for going after him.) Eventually, Thomas was narrowly confirmed by the Senate. Keep reading »
Many Frisky readers are too young to remember the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas, then a federal circuit judge. One name you might recall is Anita Hill. She was the Black woman who came forward to publicly testify that Thomas, her boss at the Department of Education and the EEOC, had sexually harassed her in a gross, relentless manner. The accusations against Thomas were a powderkeg, taking on a life of its own and igniting racial, sexual and political tensions. Anita Hill herself became the one put on trial in the court of public opinion. For a lot of women, how her behavior was picked apart and the violent threats she endured were a chilling reminder of what could happen to any woman who speaks out against sexual harassment at the hands of powerful men. (Thomas was confirmed and remains on the Supreme Court to this day.) “ANITA” looks like an absolutely gripping documentary and a must-see for all working women. It will be released across America in March 2014. [YouTube]
Poor Herman Cain just can’t catch a break, can he? Why, he can’t even make a joke about Anita Hill without those screeching harpies telling him it’s inappropriate to joke about sexual harassment when you’ve been publicly accused of sexual harassment yourself! Just because at least five women have accused the wannabe GOP presidential candidate of getting handsy doesn’t mean he still can’t crack jokes about getting an endorsement from Anita Hill, the professor who famously accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. What a victim! Keep reading »
Jane Fonda better wash her mouth out with soap! The Federal Communications Commission is trying to impose stricter regulations for what they call â€œfleeting expletivesâ€ — like when the Barberella star dropped the c-word on The Today Show a couple weeks ago and the world freaked out. Thus far, the Appeals Court has been stalling and put the case, brought by networks like Fox to stop the FCC from being able to fine an unscripted curse, on hold. So the FCC is running to the daddy of all courts, The Supreme Court, to get a quicker and more finite ruling. If the Court agrees to take the case, they could hear arguments as soon as the Fall. Better bite down on your legwarmers next time, Jane. [FMQB] Keep reading »