The Anita Hill Documentary Can Teach a New Generation About Sexual Harassment

Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, the documentary titled Anita premiered. In the film, director Frieda Mock takes a look back at a look at Anita Hill and her sexual harassment testimony during Clarence Thomas's 1991 Supreme Court confirmation. Deadline Hollywood reports that Ms.Hill attended the premiere and that the law professor received a standing ovation.

In the Sundance Channel clip above, Ms. Hill and Ms. Mock discuss the question "why now?" Mock says that she felt that 20 years later, it was important not only to look back, but "re-encapsulate" the story and relate it to what is going on now. Ms. Hill called the experience of looking back at what she went through "shocking" and "painful" but also stresses that she thinks it's important that a whole new generation understand the impact the hearings had. After all, it' been 20 years, and a new generation is entering schools and workplaces and situations in which sexual harassment could rear its ugly head. "In some ways, the issues have stayed so much the same," Ms. Hill says. (For more from the festival, check out SundanceChannel.com/festival.)

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DISCUSSION

I remember watching the hearings back then, I was just out of high school and even as a pretty sheltered middle-class teen, I knew this was a major moment. The main outcome for me of these hearings was the beginnings of feminist rage at how incredibly SHITTY they treated Anita Hill. How they humiliated her in the press and how strong she was to stand up for her story. I vividly remember her visible mortification having to describe the pubic-hair-on-the-coke-can incident. And how much of an a-hole Clarence Thomas showed himself to be. I've always admired her so much. I hope to be able to catch that documentary sometime.