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A quarter century after she described being sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court nomination hearing, Anita Hill said she hopes HBO's new film about the controversy will become a cautionary tale for a new generation.
“It’s important for us I think to relive the story and continue to learn the lessons from it,” Hill told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie in an exclusive interview that aired Monday — almost a week before HBO is set to air "Confirmation." “That’s why the film is important and having a younger audience — 25 years is a long time. An entire generation has grown up and has never really witnessed this event.”
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Hill called herself the “reluctant witness” when she testified in 1991 before Capitol Hill lawmakers about her experience working for Thomas at the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
Thomas, who at the time described the hearings as a "high-tech lynching," denied the allegations. His nomination ultimately was approved by a narrow margin, and he continues to hold a seat on the high court’s bench.
Now a law professor at Brandeis University, Hill said she doesn't feel comfortable with the idea that some people believe the truth will never be revealed about what happened during that period.
“I think that sends a really wrong message for people who are going through some of these same things today. This idea that we can never know the truth is just not accurate,” she said. “We can know the truth if we have the right processes in place. And what I think the film shows very clearly is that the wrong processes can lead us to confusion and I think that’s exactly what happened in 1991.”
In "Confirmation," set to premier April 16, Kerry Washington met with Hill before starring as her in the movie to learn more about her mindset.
“She just wanted to know not only how I felt but what was I thinking and that really was encouraging to have someone wanting to know — what was my thinking pattern and what was going on in my mind during this whole episode,” she said.
Hill said she feels “really at peace” with her role in history, even if her testimony failed to deter Senate lawmakers who approved Hill's nomination.
“I don't think I really have to become at peace with him being on the Supreme Court," she said.
Hill said she has never run into Thomas since the hearings, nor has she had a reason to interact with him.
“It’s not something that I’ve actually thought about or interested in doing,” she said. “ I don’t think that there’s any real need. I think he’s staked out his position and I’ve certainly held to mine.”
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