Friday, October 22, 2010

More on the Thomas/Hill voicemail.

As you note, Mr. Torvik, the story of Ginni Thomas calling Anita Hill and asking her to apologize for her testimony at Justice Thomas's confirmation hearing is strange. However, it seems to me that Ms. Hill's behavior is a lot less strange.

As memory serves, and Oprah Magazine confirms, Ms. Hill received death threats as a result of her testimony. I suspect that she also received threats of a less drastic nature. One can imagine that, at the time of her testimony, she was told to forward these threats to the FBI. So, twenty-years later, she receives a call from a woman claiming to be Ginni Thomas and asking Ms. Hill to apologize and provide "some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”

Ms. Hill, and I think understandably, found this odd. After reflecting on it, she provided the voicemail to her employer's security department and instructed them to contact the FBI perhaps per a protocol from the days when she was receiving threats. That doesn't seem strange to me.

What does seem strange is how this came to the attention of the New York Times. The article doesn't say. If Ms. Hill brought it to their attention, that would be very strange. But, perhaps it came from some other, less strange, source.

I agree with David Bernstein over at the Volokh Conspiracy, that if Ginni Thomas truly was seeking an apology she should have chosen a better means of communicating that other than a voicemail. That part of the story is very strange.

This renewed interest in the Hill/Thomas controversy doesn't seemed to have done much for Ms. Hill, Justice Thomas, or Ms. Thomas. On the other hand, it has arguably worked out well for other people, and not just bloggers. Lillian McEwen, a woman who dated, and apparently worked with, Justice Thomas in the 1980s, is looking for a publisher for her memoir. Ms. McEwen claims that Justice Thomas was "obsessed" with porn during the time they dated and worked together. This time period coincides with the period when Ms. Hill worked with Justice Thomas. She, as the links indicate, has gotten some free press about her proposed memoir. I suspect a publishing deal will not be far behind.

If one is inclined to believe Ms. Hill, then Ms McEwen's revelations, are more support for Ms. Hill's testimony. Although, I suppose it is support that comes is 19 years late. If one is inclined to believe Justice Thomas, than Ms. McEwen's story is suspect because it comes after such a long delay and is, with all due respect to Ms. McEwen, the only thing that would make her memoir interesting to a publisher.

Given that the voicemail and Ms. McEwen's allegations really just give us an opportunity to relive the days when the Senate testimony took about things like pubic hair on Coke cans and Long Dong Silver, I would have to say that the voicemail has had the opposite of its intended effect.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that Ginni Thomas's behavior is the strangest. But all of it is just strange enough to make me conclude that there are lots of facts that none of us know. What we do know just doesn't seem to fit together.


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