Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Anita Hill v. Ginni Thomas

All it took was one voicemail to revive a vintage political controversy. Back in 1991, Clarence Thomas' confirmation as a Supreme Court Justice was in jeopardy after former co-worker Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment. Hill charged that Thomas propositioned her with sexual remarks and pornographic material while working for him in government positions in the early '80s. Although Thomas ended up being sworn in to the High Court, his wife was far from finished with Hill. Nineteen years later, Ginni Thomas left a message on Hill's Brandeis University voicemail: "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." Hill promptly turned the audio over to campus police, thinking it was a prank call. Thomas later confirmed she had left the message, describing the voicemail as "extending an olive branch to her after all these years." Hill's response: "I have no intention of apologizing, and I stand by my testimony in 1991."