Law professor Anita Hill has largely rebuffed an attempt to apologize by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The woman who made sexual harassment a major public issue at the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings told the New York Times in an interview that the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful still doesn’t get it, as evident by the recent serial groping allegations, and hasn’t done enough to atone for his role in those hearings.
According to the Times, Mr. Biden, who announced his candidacy Thursday, called Ms. Hill earlier this month to express regret over “what she endured.”
“They 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,” said Kate Bedingfield, Mr. Biden’s deputy campaign manager.
But, the Times wrote, Ms. Hill would not say Mr. Biden had apologized and “left the conversation feeling deeply unsatisfied.”
“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 in an interview that took place Wednesday and was published Thursday.
Mr. Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that confirmed Justice Thomas, who characterized the hearings as a “high-tech lynching.” But feminists and a new generation of Democratic activists see Mr. Biden’s role, especially his skeptical cross-examining of Ms. Hill, primarily as sexism against her.
Ms. Hill told the Times she also was troubled by the recent rash of reports from women who say they felt uncomfortable by Mr. Biden’s touch-heavy style of campaigning and interaction with crowds.
“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.”
• Victor Morton can be reached at email@example.com.
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