When I was a student at Howard University, the talk on campus was about this young, pretty woman who seemed to be derailing the confirmation of what would become the first African-American judge to serve on the Supreme Court in America – Clarence Thomas.
Most people thought she was just trying to get her five minutes of fame like so many women on Capitol Hill had done in the past and the jokes about Thomas’ self-proclaimed alias “Long Dong Silver” made for many a late night talk show opening monologue.
So, what was really going on? Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was sexually harassing Anita Hill. Politicians on the hill were annoyed, because up until this point many women had been in this position, but Hill was the first one to speak up and have the allegations lead to a series of Senate Hearings in 1991. African-Americans were salty, because they just wanted her to shut up and let Clarence Thomas be “the first” to be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. Who cared what a pig he was?
What did I think about it all at the time? I figured why would Miss Hill put Thomas on blast, ruin her rep and his for a little moment in the media spotlight. I figured there had to be some truth between all the blurred lines. Turns out I was right.
Anita Hill paid a very hefty price for becoming the poster child for sexual harassment on the job. Her career in Washington was ruined. Her career as a college law professor was tarnished and for what —the truth? Yes…it certainly seems so.
For more than 20 years, Hill stayed silent on the issue. Once again, when she decided to speak out, we definitely wanted to listen and understand why, find out what her life is like now and if she has any regrets on how it all affected her personal life?
As someone who is known to always speak their mind, I’m glad Anita spoke up. Although Thomas was eventually confirmed to the Supreme Court, his judgement and reputation would be tarnished and placed into question for his entire career.
ANITA is a very compelling look at how making a choice can set into motion a series of consequences that can never be reversed.
ANITA was originally at the Seattle International Film Festival in May 2014, but can now be seen streaming on NETFLIX.