Anita Hill, the law professor whose landmark testimony against now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is credited with transforming Americans’ understanding of sexual harassment, said Thursday that she is unsatisfied with Joe Biden’s apology to her.
The interview she gave to The New York Times was published the same day Biden announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential nomination. In it, Hill says a phone call Biden made to her earlier this month did not address the consequences of how he handled her Senate Judiciary Committee testimony in 1991.
“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you,” she said. “I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
Biden was serving as the committee chairman when Hill came forward with allegations that then-Supreme Court nominee Thomas had sexually harassed her at two different jobs. Biden has long faced criticism for mishandling how Hill’s testimony was presented to the senators before they ultimately voted to confirm Thomas, who denied all of her allegations.
Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas testify for Senate Judiciary Committee
FILE – This Oct. 11, 1991 file photo shows University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Hill made national headlines in 1991 when she testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Now, more than 20 years later, director Freida Mock explores Hill’s landmark testimony and the resulting social and political changes in the documentary “Anita.” (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
(Original Caption) Washington, D.C.: Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to U.S. Senate.
(Original Caption) Washington: Professor Anita Hill is sworn-in before testifying at the Senate Judiciary hearing on the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. Miss Hill testified on her charges of alleged sexual harassment by Judge Thomas.
University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill receives councel from Charles Ogeltree while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Friday, Oct. 11, 1991. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, AUG. 28 — FILE ** Supreme Court nominee Judge Clarence Thomas testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Oct. 12, 1991, in Washington. Pointed questioning of nominees–and their frequent dodging and weaving in response–is a relatively new phenomenon in the confirmation of Supreme Court justices. Harlan Fisk Stone in 1925 became the first nominee to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And it wasn’t until the mid-1950s that thenotion of a nominee facing a line of questioners became more typical. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, Files)
University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Friday, Oct. 11, 1991. Hill testified that she was “embarrassed and humiliated” by unwanted, sexually explicit comments by Thomas a decade ago. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
Judge Clarence Thomas stands after spending the morning testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination to be associated justice of the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 12, 1991. Thomas? wife, Virginia, and Thomas? chief Senate supporter Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo., stands by. (AP Photo/John Duricka)
University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 11, 1991. Hill’s explosive allegations included graphic language and were carried live by many media outlets throughout the nation. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
Supreme Court nominee Judge Clarence Thomas receives a reassuring pat on the back from his chief Senate supporter, Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo., left, after testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 1991. Thomas told the committee ?no job is worth what I?ve been through.? (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
“The focus on apology to me is one thing,” she continued. “But he needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw. And not just women. There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence.”
Specifically, Biden is blamed for not shielding Hill from Republican attacks during the hearing and for the way he structured the hearing. Notably, he allowed Thomas to testify before Hill, and he did not call upon three female witnesses who planned to bolster Hill’s testimony with accounts of their own experiences with Thomas.
The issue has cast a cloud over the former vice president’s political future for years and has only grown more damning as women have come forward in recent weeks to say he’d inappropriately touched them in the past.
This is not the first time Hill has criticized Biden for offering a half-baked apology about her hearing.
“He said, ‘I am sorry if she felt she didn’t get a fair hearing,’” Hill said in a Washington Post interview in November 2017 after Biden made a public statement about the hearing and emphasized that he did not vote to confirm Thomas. “That’s sort of an ‘I’m sorry if you were offended.’”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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