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Anita Hill chosen to lead Hollywood sexual harassment commission

Anita Hill has been chosen to lead a newly-formed commission on sexual harassment in Hollywood. (Video: Reuters)

Anita Hill has been picked to lead a newly formed commission on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

As announced late Friday by the commission — an initiative spearheaded by producer Kathleen Kennedy, along with attorney Nina Shaw, venture capitalist Freada Kapor Klein and Nike Foundation co-chair Maria Eitel — the goal of the new group is to help combat the kind of sexual misconduct that recent revelations have shown to be pervasive in Hollywood. In her new role, Anita Hill once again will find herself leading the charge against sexual harassment, a mission that began when she testified on Capitol Hill at the 1991 confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Kennedy, in a statement, said the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace “will not seek just one solution, but a comprehensive strategy to address the complex and interrelated causes of the problems of parity and power.”

The list of other names backing the commission reads like a who’s who of Hollywood power brokers, including superagent Ari Emanuel, Disney chairman Bob Iger, CBS chairman Leslie Moonves and Atlantic Records chairman Julie Greenwald, among 20 others.

Earlier this month, Hill spoke before a packed crowd at the Beverly Hills offices of the United Talent Agencies, telling the entertainment professionals gathered there that she saw the wave of sexual harassment allegation as part of the “arc that had been bending toward justice.”

“I’m not entirely surprised that we got to this moment,” said Hill, a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University. “I am impressed with the velocity of it.”

Hill’s name has been in the news lately, as harassment allegations mount. Earlier this week, former vice president Joe Biden expressed regret over the way Hill had been treated in 1991 when she testified about Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he was the chairman of at the time. “I wish I had been able to do more for Anita Hill,” the former Democratic senator from Delaware said in an interview with Teen Vogue. “I owe her an apology.”

“It is time to end the culture of silence,” said Hill, in a statement about the new commission. “I’ve been at this work for 26 years. This moment presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to make real change.”