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Hill vs. Thomas: the media’s Confirmation

Posted by: | April 12, 2016 | No Comment |

This Saturday on HBO, Confirmation, a film staring Kerry Washington as Anita Hill and Wendell Pierce as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, will air worldwide.

The film is based on the 1991 case of 35 year old law professor Anita Hill, who claimed that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her on the job. Thomas was her boss at the Office of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).



This case gained much attention due to the fact that during this time, Thomas was then a Supreme Court nominee. The media had a very influential presence in this case. Hill’s confidential statements were illegally leaked to the press. After the leak, Hill was summoned to testify before the Judiciary Committee on live television.

Over 20 million households watched the proceedings.

During the televised trial, Hill was demonized and attacked. And with it being aired for the public to see, the attacks on Hill pursued nearly three-quarters of the public to believe that Hill was lying about her sexual harassment claim.

When court cases are reported on and aired for the public to see, the public is able to make judgments on the matter based on the media’s telling of the story, which can be very powerful and influential to the people involved.

While the film is already being criticized for its dramatization of the case, for Hill it is highlighting the impact of the media and the overall importance of the case.

I will say that [Confirmation] is not just about my memories. One of the things that occurred in 1991, when people were watching it: This was almost like political reality TV being played out in front of people, on their television sets and on radio. – Anita Hill to Rolling Stone



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