Twenty-five years ago, Anita Hill stood before 20 million people and testified that then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her while she’d worked for him at theEqual Employment Opportunity Commission.
During her televised testimony, Hill recounted a number of instances in which Thomas allegedly made inappropriate sexual advances toward her—all of which Thomas categorically denied. Throughout her hearing, the all-male panel that questioned Hill repeatedly dismissed her accusations while Thomas claimed that Hill’s testimony was simply the “high-tech lynching” of a prominent, conservative black man.
Ultimately, Thomas was confirmed in a 52–48 vote, but Hill’s testimony changed the way that the country thought and spoke about workplace sexual harassment.
Last night, in an interview with PBS NewsHour, Hill spoke about the upcoming movie about the controversy surrounding her allegations and reflected on her decision to come forward. When asked about how she felt about the intense media scrutiny and public harassment she faced because of her testimony, Hill insisted that she’d do it all again.
“I think it was something that was meant to happen, actually,” Hill explained. “I had an experience to share that went to the fitness of an individual who was going to be sitting on a Supreme Court with a lifetime appointment. It was important, not only to the integrity of this individual, but also to the integrity of the court itself.”
In the years after Hill’s testimony, the number of workplace harassment complaints to the EEOC skyrocketed as more and more people became comfortable with the idea of speaking up. Though Hill recognizes the role she played in sparking a national conversation about sexual harassment, she stressed the fact that there’s still much more work to be done.
“It was surreal to experience that. And, unfortunately, I hear from women in particular, but women and men, who come up against this kind of power and this kind of resistance all the time,” Hill said. “Unfortunately, they’re getting some of the same kinds of inaccurate statements, some of the fallacies, some of the myths that were behind what the senators were doing are being repeated over and over again.”