Anita Hill on Biden: He hasn’t taken ownership for his role in what happened

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Anita Hill said former Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t taken “ownership” for his role in what happened to her during Senate confirmation hearings in 1991.

During an interview with The Washington Post, she was asked about Biden’s recent apology, in which he said he was sorry if Hill felt she didn’t get a “fair hearing.”

“That’s sort of an, ‘I’m sorry if you were offended,’ ” Hill said.

She continued: “I still don’t think it takes ownership of his role in what happened. And he also doesn’t understand that it wasn’t just that I felt it was not fair.”

“It was that women were looking to the Senate Judiciary Committee and his leadership to really open the way to have these kinds of hearings.”

Hill, an attorney, in 1991 accused her then-boss, Clarence Thomas, of sexual harassment after he was nominated to the Supreme Court. Her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee became a national sensation.

Hill’s credibility came under withering attack from some members of the panel. Thomas, who denied ever harassing Hill, was ultimately confirmed to the Supreme Court. 

Biden, who as a Delaware senator was the Judiciary Committee chairman at the time, has come under criticism over the years for his handling of the Thomas hearings. At the time, he refused to call three other witnesses who were also prepared to make accusations against Thomas. 

He was asked during an event earlier this month if there is anything he would do differently with regards to Hill in light of the “context of changing the culture and women being brave enough to come forward,” the Huffington Post reported.

“Let’s get something straight here: I believed Anita Hill. I voted against Clarence Thomas,” Biden said.

Biden said he felt Hill was “victimized.”

“There is no question in my mind and every single solitary person on that committee who believed her voted no” on Thomas’s confirmation, he said.

He also said he was “sorry” if Hill believes she didn’t get a fair process.

“I am so sorry that she had to go through what she went through. Think of the courage that it took for her to come forward,” he said.
Biden’s handling of the hearings is receiving fresh attention now that he appears to be considering a White House run in 2020.
Hill criticized Biden and other members of the Judiciary Committee, saying they should have been using “best practices to show leadership on this issue on behalf of women’s equality.

“And they did just the opposite,” she said.

She said you can’t bring people forward “into a process where you know they’re not going to be treated fairly.”

“That’s not being heard. That’s something that we are struggling with right now,” she said.
“Women are coming in to make a complaint, and the process is unfair and employers are saying, ‘Well, we have a process.’ Well, that’s not enough.”
“You’ve got to be able to come into a system that respects and values our experiences and our work and our integrity,” she said. “And we’re not there yet.”
Her comments come as multiple women have come forward in recent weeks with sexual misconduct allegations against lawmakers and members of the media.
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