From the International Herald Tribune:
On Sunday evening, Anita Hill turned on the television at her Waltham, Mass., home to watch “60 Minutes.” She knew the man she had famously accused of sexual harassment, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, would appear on the show to promote his autobiography.
Hill expected Thomas to attack her credibility. But, she said, she did not expect such intensity. Sixteen years after Hill’s testimony nearly scuttled Thomas’s nomination, a new generation of Americans heard Thomas label his accuser a liar, adding: “She was not the demure, religious, conservative person that they portrayed.”
Hill, now 51, said that when she heard about Thomas’s book, she was reluctant to re-engage in the dispute that riveted the nation in 1991. But, she said, she decided she needed to defend herself. She said she stands by her sworn testimony. She said Thomas did make suggestive statements to her and talk about pornographic movies. She noted, as she did in 1991, that she took a polygraph test and passed it, while Thomas declined to be tested.
Now, the publication of Thomas’s book, “My Grandfather’s Son,” has put Hill back in a place she thought she had left long ago – the national stage.
“What I found very surprising is this is a Supreme Court justice,” Hill said. “He is making these claims that have either been disproved or he is making claims for which he has no proof. He is talking in these generalities without specifics, making statements inconsistent with the known facts. Having a Supreme Court justice do that was what was so shocking about it . . . it is still painful to have those kinds of things said.”
Hill asserts that Thomas sexually harassed her when they worked together in the education department, making unwanted advances and suggestive comments about pornographic movies. She said that she followed him to a second department because she thought “the behavior had stopped.” But she said it started again.
After Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court, Hill told congressional investigators about the alleged harassment. Hill testified at a contentious hearing that became a nationally televised referendum on his character and her credibility. Eventually, Thomas’s nomination was approved 52-to-48 by the Senate.
For years, Thomas’s refusal to speak publicly about the experience – reinforced by his practice of rarely speaking from the bench – seemed to indicate that the controversy was buried. But then he accepted a $1.5 million advance for the book, saying he was determined to set the record straight.