In a bizarre turn of events, Clarence Thomas's wife Virginia called Anita Hill earlier this month, asking Hill to apologize for that whole sexual harassment thing. Because, you know, it was her fault.
According to the Times, here's the phone message Thomas left at Hill's office on October 9:
Good morning Anita Hill, it's Ginni Thomas. 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.
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.
"What you did" would be accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment back in 1991, when he was up for a seat on the Supreme Court — accusations Thomas has always denied. Perhaps taking into account the fact that she lodged her accusations nearly twenty years ago, and nothing has changed since then, Hill initially thought the call was a prank, and called police. But Ginni Thomas says she did indeed make the call:
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. 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.
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So basically, Ginni Thomas was saying, "You lied about my husband talking about porn and bestiality to you while you were his employee. Oh, and that pubic-hair-on-the-Coke-can thing? Lies! You should really apologize for being such a liar. No offense, though. Have a good day!"
Unsurprisingly, Hill is not amused. She says, "I appreciate that no offense was intended, but she can't ask for an apology without suggesting that I did something wrong, and that is offensive." She also told the Boston Globe, "I have no intention of apologizing and I stand by my testimony. No further explanation is needed. I testified truthfully about what my experience was back in the 1980s."
It remains unclear why Thomas thought that now might be a good time to convince Hill to recant statements she made in 1991 at great personal cost (including a book aimed at "ruin[ing] Hill's credibility," whose author actually has recanted). However, Charlie Savage of the Times notes that "In the past year [Ginni Thomas] has become more prominent as the founder of a new nonprofit activist group, Liberty Central, which is dedicated to opposing what she has characterized as the leftist 'tyranny' of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats. The group has drawn scrutiny in part because of the unusual circumstance of a spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice drawing a salary from a group financed by anonymous donors." Adds Brian Bender of the Globe, "Because the group does not have to publicly disclose its donors, some experts in judicial ethics have raised concerns about possible conflicts of interests that could arise in legal cases that come before her husband on the Supreme Court."
So maybe Thomas was hoping to deflect attention from potential conflicts of interest by getting Hill to apologize? That rationale doesn't make a ton of sense, but the voicemail itself is perhaps beyond reason. And since Hill clearly has no intention of saying she's sorry, Thomas's weirdo phone call may actually direct more attention to her possibly questionable activities, as well as to her bad judgment and passive-aggressive phone manner. No offense.
Clarence Thomas's Wife Asks Anita Hill For Apology [NYT]
Wife Of Clarence Thomas Calls Anita Hill, Seeking Apology [Boston Globe]