Coming Soon: Because of Anita

Please note: This transcript has been automatically generated.

Professor Anita Hill’s Testimony I have no personal vendetta against Clarence Thomas.

Dr. Salamishah Tillet That’s Professor Anita Hill testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October, 1991.

Professor Anita Hill’s Testimony It would have been more comfortable to remain silent. I felt that I had to tell the truth.

Cindi Leive And the truth, Anita Hill explained, was that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her years earlier when he was her boss. Professor Hill described his behavior in detail to an all white, all male judiciary committee. After three days of debate, they confirmed the nomination. Nearly 30 years later, in 2018, Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life for a very long time. 

Cindi Leive As Dr. Christine Blasey Ford described Kavanaugh’s attack on her in high school, it was impossible not to think of Anita Hill. 

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony Apart from the assault itself, these past couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life. I’ve had to relive this trauma in front of the world, and I’ve seen my life picked apart. 

Dr. Salamishah Tillet Professor Anita Hill and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford have spent some time together but have never had a public conversation… until now. 

Professor Anita Hill I have this very protective instinct. And when we met, one of my concerns was that you were going to be okay. And I did leave feeling assured that you were going to be able to handle what was going on in your life; you have this strong core that would get you through it. 

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Yes, I remember you saying that I would have a much better perspective in five years, and in 25 years, and you were right. 

Dr. Salamishah Tillet They talk about whether the senators and the general public believe survivors. 

Professor Anita Hill I think they do believe. I think they’re afraid of believing, so they may even say they don’t believe, but I think they’re just not willing to do anything about it. 

Cindi Leive They talk about grief and anger. 

Professor Anita Hill People were saying to me, you know, “I no longer have any confidence in our courts.”

Dr. Salamishah Tillet They discussed the future. 

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford When there is someone else in this position–and there will be–maybe they will also see that it is their civic duty to speak up.

Cindi Leive I’m Cindi Leive, I’m a journalist and editor. 

Dr. Salamishah Tillet I’m Salamishah Tillet, and I’m a scholar and activist. 

Cindi Leive And this conversation is part of our new podcast “Because of Anita,” a four-part series about Anita Hill and the legacy of her testimony. It’s about everything that’s changed and everything that hasn’t. 

Dr. Salamishah Tillet We’ll talk to lots of people: politicians, artists, organizers, and academics, all of whom have been shaped by those hearings 30 years ago. Like Tarana Burke, founder of the ‘me too.’ Movement. 

Tarana Burke Because of Anita, I know what courage looks like. 

Cindi Leive Drew Dixon, a record producer and writer. 

Drew Dixon I really have carried Anita Hill with me since those hearings, especially because I went on in my own career to experience sexual harassment twice. And I carried her with me when I decided to come forward.

Dr. Salamishah Tillet And actor and director Kerry Washington, who played Professor Hill in a film about the hearings.

Kerry Washington One of the most important moments for me is when she says, “I know it’s possible because it happened to me.” It’s like, I have nothing else to give you but my absolute truth.

Cindi Leive “Because of Anita” is a production of Pineapple Street Studios and The Meteor. You can subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.

Dr. Salamishah Tillet Coming October 4th.