Don’t see many movies in the theatre any more, but I’ll look for this one. From the NYTimes:
WALTHAM, Mass. — On the day in 1991 that the Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, Anita Hill — the little- known law professor who riveted the nation by accusing him of sexual harassment — faced news cameras outside her simple brick home in Norman, Okla., with her mother by her side, and politely declined to comment on the vote.
In the nearly 23 years since, Ms. Hill, now a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University here, has worked hard, she likes to say, to help women “find their voices.” She has also found hers — and she is not afraid to use it.
“I believe in my heart that he shouldn’t have been confirmed,” she said in a recent interview, acknowledging that it irritates her to see Justice Thomas on the court. “I believe that the information I provided was clear, it was verifiable, it was confirmed by contemporaneous witnesses that I had talked with. And I think what people don’t understand is that it does go to his ability to be a fair and impartial judge.”
It was a surprisingly candid comment from a deeply private woman who has long been careful in the spotlight. But the quiet life Ms. Hill has carved out for herself is about to be upended — by her own choice — with the release of a documentary, “Anita,” opening on March 21 in theaters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York…
The movie, which premiered at Sundance last year to good reviews, opens with the voice of Justice Thomas’s wife, Ginni, in a 2010 message on Ms. Hill’s office answering machine, asking her to “consider an apology and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.” (Ms. Hill initially thought it was a prank.) It intersperses old footage of the hearings with interviews with Ms. Hill; her lawyer, the Harvard law professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr.; some supporters and two journalists, Jill Abramson, now executive editor of The New York Times, and Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, co-authors of a 1994 book, “Strange Justice,” that raised questions about Justice Thomas’s candor…
Today, Ms. Hill is working mostly on a strategic plan for Brandeis; she plans to use a sabbatical next year to organize her letters. If she has a legacy, experts say, it is in creating a vocabulary for Americans to talk about sexual harassment, where none existed before. In 1991, after a confidential memo containing Ms. Hill’s accusations leaked out, seven female Democratic House members marched over to the Senate to demand that she be called as a witness…
But she wants America to know that “I have a good life,” a life of meaning and purpose, that “something positive” has come out of those dark 1991 days. Looking back, she said, she sometimes marvels at how hard her critics worked to destroy her.
“And yet,” she said, sounding satisfied, “here I am.”
All those years ago, I was still young enough to be amazed at how many otherwise well-educated, well-meaning men just couldn’t believe that a powerful man would harass his female underlings just because he could. Or how many women would defend Clarence Thomas because, well, listening to your boss describe his sexual fantasies was just the lowest price any smart, ambitious woman should expect to pay for the privilege of being allowed into “a man’s world”. It’s not like he actually groped her, raped her, abused her in front of his fellow powerful men — it was “just words”, after all. And the intersection of these two justifications… watching men see their mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters come out of the sexual-harrassment-victim closet… well, that was quite eye-opening, as well.