Virginia Thomas to Anita Hill: You Should Consider An Apology
“Good morning, Anita Hill. It’s Ginni Thomas,” the voice mail 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 sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. Okay, have a good day.”
After sending that voicemail at 7:31 a.m. on Oct. 9, I would much rather Mrs. Clarence Thomas (pictured left) give a full explanation about what possessed her to think Anita Hill (pictured right) owes her anything.
In an interview with the New York Times, Hill explains that the message came to her office phone at Brandeis University and that she thought it was a prank. Asking the campus police to forward the message to the FBI, she is rightfully annoyed and offended by the gesture.
Thomas acknowledges that she left the message, but insists that she called with good intentions so that everyone could move on from the situation.
“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 past 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.”
“I appreciate that no offense was intended, but she can’t ask for an apology without suggesting that I did something wrong, and that is offensive,” Hill said.
In 1991, the Clarence Thomas – Anita Hill controversy riveted the nation. Hill, 54, now a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University, was an assistant to the future Justice Clarence Thomas, who allegedly sexually harassed her while at work by not only making suggestive pornographic statements, but also leaving a pubic hair on a can of Coca-Cola.
Justice Thomas, selected by former President George Bush to replace Justice Thurgood Marshall, has consistently denied the allegations, referring to it as a “high-tech lynching.”
A predominately male Senate confirmed him by a vote of 52 to 48.
At the time, speculation was rampant that Hill provoked Justice Thomas as if she were a modern-day Lolita. “Look at the way she dresses.” “I’m sure she was probably flirting with him!” “She’s trying to climb her way up.”
The truth of the matter is Hill was placed under a microscope, tried and convicted by the court of public opinion because she had the strength of character to expose what many women have to face in the workplace every day.
A telephone poll by Louis Harris and Associates on 782 U.S. workers revealed:
Of the women who had been harassed:
It is corporate America’s worst-kept dirty secret. A woman steps into the Boys’ Club, and she is subjected to crass jokes and propositions, all while having to deal with salary disparities and being overlooked for career advancement opportunities.
In her 1998 book ‘Speaking Truth to Power,’ Hill noted that she had been accused of harboring a romantic interest in Justice Thomas by his wife. “Virginia Thomas and I have never met,” Hill wrote. “And one can imagine that she is guided by her own romantic interest in her husband when she assumes that other women find him attractive as well.”
Note to Virginia Thomas: As a woman who has obviously harbored these feelings for almost 20 years, you called the wrong person. You should have been talking to the man laying next to you at night.