Anita Hill Documentary Is Essential Viewing to Put the Brett Kavanaugh Hearings in Context

IndieWire | 9/20/2018 | Staff
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At the conclusion of Freida Lee Mock’s 2014 documentary “Anita,” gender inequality crusader and Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill offers a glimpse at the bright future she’s long worked toward. “We really have been building on an understanding of what equality means, whether we fight to gender equality or racial equality or equal rights based on sexual identity,” Hill says. “We have a much better understanding of what it takes to get there in 2011 or 2012 than we had in 1991.” It’s an upbeat, forward-thinking end to a film often riddled with painful memories for both Hill and its audience.

Just four years later, that optimism has been replaced by an uneasy deja vu.

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Next week, it’s expected that both Supreme Court appointee Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexual assault during their high school years, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, Mock’s documentary takes on a new urgency, providing a window into what happened nearly three decades ago, and how little things have changed.

Mock’s film serves as an insightful account of the events surrounding Thomas’ 1991 appointment to the Supreme Court, the subsequent controversy surrounding Hill, and her post-testimony life. While the broad strokes of the Hill and Blasey cases are different — Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment when they worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, , while Blasey’s accusations stem from sexual assault at a high school party — the similarities are hard to ignore.

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As “Anita” reminds us, Hill’s involvement in what would become a media spectacle and a national controversy, began much as Blasey’s did: with a letter detailing her experience, one she expected to be kept confidential. It wasn’t, and soon, Hill was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a televised interview that, as...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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