PoliticsSex & Gender

anita hill: joe biden’s apology is “not enough”

November 27, 2017
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In the midst of yet another round of public accusations of sexual assault by public figures, the Democratic Party’s past history of discrediting and silencing female victims who came forward about harassment in the workplace. In 1991, it was Anita Hill.

During the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991, then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden tried to prevent Anita Hill from testifying that Thomas had sexually harassed her.

Fast-forward to today with accused child molester Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican candidate for the Senate seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Session, and other misconduct allegations on the Hill at the center of the news, there are renewed calls to re-examine how both parties have handled similar allegations in the past.

Earlier this month at an event hosted by Glamour magazine, Former Vice President Biden said he was “so sorry” for what Antia Hill went through almost 30 years ago. More recently, Biden has said, “I believed Anita Hill. I voted against Clarence Thomas.”

On Nov. 16, Hill and the five current and former Democratic female lawmakers who fought for her right to testify during the confirmation hearings all those years ago, sat down with The Washington Post to talk about this historic event. (A meeting Biden was invited to back in June but declined to attend.)

Quoting Biden’s recent statements, the Post’s Libby Casey said:

Casey: “”The message I have delivered before is that I’m sorry if she believes that. I’m so sorry that she had to go through what she went through.” He also said, “Think of the courage that it took for her to come forward.””

In response, Hill agreed that “some part of” Biden’s recent remarks was a real apology, “but I still don’t think it takes ownership of his role in what happened. And he also doesn’t understand that it wasn’t just that I felt it was not fair. It was that women were looking to the Senate Judiciary Committee and his leadership to really open the way to have these kinds of hearings. They should have been using best practices to show leadership on this issue on behalf of women’s equality. And they did just the opposite.”

Read Anita Hill’s full talk with The Washington Post and Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.), Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), former senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), former congresswoman Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), here.


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