Anita Hill Isn't Accepting Joe Biden's 'Apology'

Anita Hill and Joe Biden
Photo: AP

Hours after former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign tried to pre-empt critics on the day of its launch by saying he’d spoken with Anita Hill and “shared...his regret” for when he—as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee—grilled her during her 1991 testimony about Clarence Thomas, Hill told the New York Times she did not accept Biden’s “apology,” nor would she characterize it as one.

From the Times, emphasis mine:

But Ms. Hill, in an interview Wednesday, said she left the conversation feeling deeply unsatisfied and declined to characterize his words to her as an apology. She said she is not convinced that Mr. Biden truly accepts the harm he caused her and other women who suffered sexual harassment and gender violence.

“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you. I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose,” she said.

She said she cannot support Mr. Biden, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 oversaw the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, until he takes responsibility for what he did and is also troubled by the recent accusations of improper touching.

“The focus on apology to me is one thing,” she said. “But he needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw. And not just women. There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence.”

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Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, said earlier today that Biden and Hill had a “private discussion where he shared with her directly his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country.”

Alas, even if Hill had even wanted to accept Biden’s apology, Biden and his campaign’s consistently poor framing, devoid of responsibility—that he regrets what “she endured,” not what he made her endure—is telling. What’s also clear is that this issue, which has already followed Biden, isn’t going away anytime soon.

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About the author

Samantha Grasso

Splinter Staff Writer, Texan