Anita Hill: 'Washington cannot lead the country' in addressing sexual harassment

Anita Hill on Sunday said she doesn't believe officials in Washington, D.C., will lead the country on addressing sexual harassment, adding that she believes the recent spate of accusations against politicians and celebrities are "the tip of the iceberg."

“We have made progress but, unfortunately, 26 years ago Washington wasn’t ready to lead on this issue, and I’m afraid even today Washington cannot lead the country on this issue,” Hill said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“There seems to be too many conflicted feelings and understandings about what needs to happen when sexual misconduct occurs,” she continued.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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. 

Sexual harassment has been at the forefront of discussion on Capitol Hill in recent weeks. Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenCNN publishes first Al Franken op-ed since resignation Political world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' MORE (D-Minn.) and Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersBiden's immigration plan has serious problems Tlaib wins Michigan Democratic primary Tlaib holds lead in early vote count against primary challenger MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) have all faced allegations of sexual misconduct.

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierIt's past time to be rid of the legacy of Jesse Helms Female lawmakers pressure Facebook to crack down on disinformation targeting women leaders Democrats demand Esper explicitly ban Confederate flag and allow Pride, Native Nations flags MORE (D-Calif.) and others, meanwhile, have come forward to share their stories of being sexually harassed while working on Capitol Hill, and have introduced legislation to reform the complaint reporting process.

On Sunday, Hill said she doesn't believe leaders in Washington will lead the way in addressing sexual harassment. Instead, she said leaders of businesses, universities and the military will need to help move the country forward.

"I can’t say I was entirely surprised with the 'Me Too' allegations and the stories that came out of 'Me Too,' " Hill said of the recent campaign that has led many to share their experiences with sexual harassment.

“I think we’re really at the tip of the iceberg here,” she said.

Hill said she expects many more women to come forward with stories, including women of color and women in immigrant communities who may be fearful to speak out.

“We haven’t heard from everyone, but we’ve heard from enough women to know this is a severe problem and that it’s hurting not only those individuals, but that it’s hurting all of us as a society,” Hill said.