Nineteen years after Anita Hill accused her former boss at Equal Employment Opportunity, now-Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, of making sexual comments, she received what appeared to be a mysterious voicemail allegedly from Thomas’ wife rekindling the incident.
“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas,” the Oct. 9 message said, according to ABC News. “I just want 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. OK, have a good day.”
Hill, now teaching law at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, said she initially thought the call was a prank and forwarded the message to campus police. But when a reporter from an ABC News affiliate sent an e-mail to Virginia Thomas, the identity of the voice was confirmed as that of the Supreme Court justice’s wife.
“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,” Thomas wrote in an e-mail response. “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.”
Hill told ABC News, “I don’t apologize. I have no intention of apologizing, and I stand by my testimony in 1991.”
During confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee nearly two decades ago, Hill testified that Thomas, at the time chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, uttered sexual innuendos to Hill and made references to her about pornographic films during working hours. Thomas rebutted the eleventh-hour accusations, characterizing Hill’s testimony and other assaults on his morality and behavior as a “high-tech lynching.”
On Oct. 15, 1991, the Senate confirmed his nomination to the High Court in a 52-48 vote.
Lillian McEwen, a former Senate Judiciary Committee lawyer who dated Thomas indicated in a recent interview with The Washington Post that Hill’s claims were certainly not far-fetched in light of Thomas’ lifestyle at the time.
“The Clarence I know was certainly capable not only of doing the things that Anita Hill said he did, but it would be totally consistent with the way he lived his personal life then,” McEwen told the Post. She added that she was not surprised that Virginia Thomas would leave a message for Hill nearly two decades after the case was closed.