"Scandal" star Kerry Washington will play Anita Hill, the woman who in 1991 accused Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, in an HBO movie to be titled "Confirmation," the Hollywood Reporter reported Thursday.
It's the second show about Hill to be released in recent years. In 2013, the documentary "Anita" was released.
"A generation of people who don't even know that it happened are now going to work and experiencing this," Hill said during an appearance on "The Daily Show" to promote the film. "They see the signs now that say sexual harassment is prohibited, but they don't know how we got there."
But would a new generation feel any differently about the Hill and the Thomas hearings than they did more than two decades ago?
In 1991, only 24 percent of Americans believe Hill's accusations. Since then, attitudes on sexual harassment have been all over the map. In 1991, 74 percent said sexual harassment of women in the workplace is a problem in the United States, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. That increased to 85 percent in 1992, and fell to 71 percent in 1994. By 2011, that number dropped to 64 percent.
What has irreversibly changed since the '90s, according to poll data, is the percentage of people who say they've ever been sexually harassed at work and the percentage of those harassed who reported it to their employer. In 1991, only 10 percent said they had been harassed, and by 2011, that figure was at 17 percent. Of those who say they have been sexually harassed, 36 percent said they reported it to their employer, up from 28 percent in 1994.
If anyone could influence how people thought about Hill and the Thomas hearing, it'd be "Scandal" star Washington. The show has a huge and very devoted social media following (only recently overtaken by "Empire" for having the highest number of tweets per episode for a broadcast drama), and its season premiere was watched by 10.4 million people.
Washington has long been active in politics as a strong of Democrats. She spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and starred in an MoveOn.org ad against Mitt Romney. She also campaigned for New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono in 2013. Polls in 1991 found the split between those who favored Thomas' confirmation and those who did not was larger between Democrats and Republicans than it was between people of different races and genders.
Washington was a supporter of the "Anita" documentary when it was released, tweeting about both it and Hill.