Anita Hill Spurns Biden Apology, Demands 'Real Change and Real Accountability'

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April 25, 2019

After former Vice President Joe Biden called Anita Hill earlier this month to apologize for her treatment when she testified against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, Hill said his apology would not suffice.

Biden led the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, and Hill said there is still a need for "real change" in Biden's approach to 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 told the New York Times in an interview on Wednesday.

Hill also said she cannot support Biden until he takes responsibility for his committee's treatment of her. She also criticized him for not sufficiently apologizing for the recent allegations of his seemingly overly touchy disposition.

"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."

According to the Times, when Biden called Hill, he couched his apology in passive terms, telling her he was sorry for "what she endured." Biden has used the same tone when talking about the incident in public. While speaking at a New York event in honor of students combating sexual violence on campuses, Biden said he was powerless to have handled Hill's allegations of sexual harassment against Thomas properly.

"She faced a committee that didn’t fully understand what the hell this was all about," he told the crowd. "To this day, I regret I couldn’t give her the kind of hearing she deserved. I wish I could have done something."

Biden formally announced his candidacy for president on Thursday morning, after months of media speculation.

Thomas, for his part, has denied that he ever sexually harassed Hill and strongly disagreed that Biden favored him in the hearing he described at the time as a "high-tech lynching." Thomas said Biden tried to trick him about what his confirmation hearing would be like.

"Senator Biden’s smooth, insincere promises that he would treat me fairly were nothing but talk," Thomas wrote in his memoir.