Hill Describes Details of Alleged Harassment
Saturday, October 12, 1991
In a riveting and emotional confrontation broadcast live from a spellbound Senate hearing room, law professor Anita Hill yesterday vividly recounted the sexual harassment she said she suffered from Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Thomas angrily denied the charges of his former aide and denounced the confirmation process as a "high-tech lynching."
The two accounts -- flatly contradictory, impossible to reconcile -- left the senators with a painful choice.
"They cannot both be telling the truth, said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who questioned both witnesses.
Sen. Herbert H. Kohl (D-Wis.) agreed. "Clearly, one is lying and one is telling the truth, but I can't say who."
In an opening statement and under lengthy questioning from senators, Hill alleged that Thomas pressured her repeatedly to go out with him, bragged of his sexual prowess, and talked to her luridly about pornographic movies and sex. Thomas, in a statement that opened the morning session, and in an angry rebuttal of Hill's charges last night, denied it all categorically and "unequivocally."
The evening session was the emotional high point of a day that seemed to drain both the senators and the witnesses. A clearly infuriated Thomas told the Senate Judiciary Committee its hearing was a "national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, as far as I'm concerned, it's a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas . . . . You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree."