In 1991, Anita Hill testified against Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing. Hill had worked for Thomas at the Department of Education and at EEOC. Under oath, she testified that Thomas had made sexual remarks to her during the time they were both at DoEd and EEOC. Thomas was confirmed 52-48 but the hearings were extremely contentious and almost everyone had an opinion on Anita Hill. The support and condemnation usually ran along party lines.
According to the New York Times:
In a voice mail left at 7:31 a.m. on Oct. 9 — the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend — Virginia Thomas asked her husband’s former aide-turned-adversary to make amends. Ms. Hill played the recording, from her voice mail at Brandeis University, for The Times.
“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas,” it said. “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 sometimes and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”
Ms. Thomas went on: “So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day.”
Ms. Hill, in an interview, said she kept the message for nearly a week trying to decide whether the caller really was Ms. Thomas or a prankster. Unsure, she said, she decided to turn it over to the Brandeis campus police with a request to convey it the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“I though it was certainly inappropriate,” Ms. Hill said. “It came in at 7:30 a.m. on my office phone from somebody I didn’t know, and she is asking for an apology. It was not invited. There was no background for it.”
In a statement conveyed through a publicist, Ms. Thomas confirmed leaving the message, which she portrayed as a peacemaking gesture. She did not explain its timing.
“I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get passed what happened so long ago,” she said. “That offer still stands. I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended.”
The olive branch seems to come with a very accusatory tone attached to it. Ms. Hill feels she told the truth which she was required to so and she owes no one an apology.
What is Virginia Thomas thinking? Why dredge up the past after nearly 20 years. To call someones office at that hour of the morning, on a weekend when the likelihood of the person being there is fairly remote, is nothing short of harassment. Mrs. Thomas is already under fire for being too much of an activist with her husband sitting on the Supreme Court. Most spouses of Justices keep a very low profile politically, much like a General’s spouse must do.
It now seems that Anita Hill is the one who should receive an apology. I hope she gets it.