Panelist who came to TCA to talk about HBO’s original movie Confirmation dodged the question as to whether they believed Clarence Thomas or Anita Hill was telling the truth during the 1991 confirmation hearings for now Supreme Court justice Thomas.
“The assumption is the movie is ‘who’s telling the truth and we lean into that,” Kerry Washington, who plays Anita Hill, said while leaning away from an actual answer to the simple question. “Who did you believe” she said, is a “provocative question.”
Which she chose not to answer, explaining instead, “When you start to tell the story and pull back the curtain, the story is way more complicated than ‘he said/she said’,” because of the “layers of politics” that came into play.
The film details how Vice President Joe Biden, then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, presided over the Thomas hearings and the speculation that he was cowed into cutting them short and declining to call additional witnesses while letting other senators brutally attack Hill, who had come forward to testify she’d allegedly been sexually harassed by Thomas. Biden is played by Greg Kinnear.
One of those additional witnesses was Angela Wright, played by Jennifer Hudson. Wright was prepared to testify that she too had been sexually harassed by Thomas; but she never was called. Washington this afternoon credited the hearings with forever changing the way this country thinks about sexual harassment, victims’ rights, and modern race relations –some of which is a pretty tough sell if you did not come away from the hearings believing Hill.
“It’s much richer than what you would expect,” Kinnear said, seconding Washington’s non-answer to that who-do-you-believe question. Kinnear also insisted it’s “not as simple as he said/she said” which he called “a real testament to great film making.”