Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chutzpah

Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, left a voice mail message for Anita Hill.

In a voice mail message left at 7:31 a.m. on Oct. 9, a Saturday, Virginia Thomas asked her husband’s former aide-turned-adversary to make amends. Ms. Hill played the recording, from her voice mail at Brandeis University, for The New York Times.

“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas,” it said. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”

Ms. Thomas went on: “So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. O.K., have a good day.”

Ms. Hill, in an interview, said she had kept the message for nearly a week trying to decide whether the caller really was Ms. Thomas or a prankster. Unsure, she said, she decided to turn it over to the Brandeis campus police with a request to convey it the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“I thought it was certainly inappropriate,” Ms. Hill said. “It came in at 7:30 a.m. on my office phone from somebody I didn’t know, and she is asking for an apology. It was not invited. There was no background for it.”

In a statement conveyed through a publicist, Ms. Thomas confirmed leaving the message, which she portrayed as a peacemaking gesture. She did not explain its timing.

“I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get past what happened so long ago,” she said. “That offer still stands. I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended.”

So the wife of the man who sexually harassed Anita Hill is asking for an apology? Clarence Thomas ended up on the Supreme Court and Ms. Hill was vilified by the right-wing noise machine, and she’s the one who should apologize?

Well, Ms. Thomas, if Ms. Hill won’t help you understand why she did what she did, let me help you: your husband is a loathsome sexual predator; there are probably a lot of women he went after, but Anita Hill was the only one who stood up to him and put herself in the spotlight to put an end to it. And you, Ms. Thomas, are just as bad by enabling him. So if anyone is owed an apology, it’s Anita Hill, not you.