Anita Hill says she's unsatisfied with Biden overture, won't call it an apology

Anita Hill has confirmed that former Vice President Joe Biden reached out to her by phone earlier this month to express regret over how she was treated during her 1991 testimony regarding Justice Clarence Thomas, but said she found the conversation unsatisfying and wouldn't describe his comments as an apology.

“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you. I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose,” Hill told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday.

Hill told the Times on Wednesday that she does not believe Biden has fully held himself accountable for the impact his actions have had on her and other women who have suffered sexual harassment and violence. It was widely reported on Tuesday that Biden would soon be launching his candidacy for the White House, which he did early Thursday.


A spokesperson for Biden told The Hill in a statement that he expressed regret for past events.

“Vice President BidenJoe BidenGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal Obama, Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley team up to urge communities of color to get coronavirus vaccine Biden to hold second meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE has spoken with Anita Hill. They had a private discussion where he shared with her directly his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country," the spokesperson said.

Hill accused then-Supreme Court nominee Thomas of sexual harassment during his 1991 confirmation process, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the allegations. Biden chaired the Senate panel at the time.

Biden said last month that he wished he could have done something about how Hill was treated  during the hearing.  

“She was abused in the hearing. She was taken advantage of. Her reputation was attacked. I wish I could have done something,” he said, noting his opposition to Thomas' confirmation. The remarks drew criticism from those who pointed to Biden's position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Biden's treatment of Hill when he chaired the Judiciary panel during Thomas's confirmation hearings could become an issue in the Democratic presidential primary, especially in the age of the "Me Too" movement. 

Hill's treatment during the hearing has faced renewed scrutiny during the "Me Too" era and following sexual misconduct allegations made against Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughBiden's court-packing theater could tame the Supreme Court's conservatives Trump knocks CNN for 'completely false' report Gaetz was denied meeting NY Times beclowns itself by normalizing court-packing 'to balance the conservative majority' MORE last year during his confirmation process.

--Updated 4:27 p.m.