What would be your first reaction if you heard from the wife of your former coworker-sexual harasser, and she wanted an apology for the mess her husband created? Mine would probably be unprintable on this website.
Anita Hill was confronted with that scenario when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife Ginny left a voicemail on Oct. 9–a Saturday–on Hill’s Brandeis University office line requesting an apology for telling the world Thomas sexually harassed her.
"Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas," went Thomas’ message, according to ABC News. "I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. Okay have a good day."
Hill first thought it was a prank and referred the voicemail to campus police, who got the FBI involved. But turns out it really was Thomas’ voice on the line; she confirmed it to ABC.
"Even if it wasn’t a prank, it was in no way conciliatory for her to begin with the presumption that I did something wrong in 1991," Hill told ABC News. "I don’t apologize. I have no intention of apologizing, and I stand by my testimony in 1991."
Thomas confirmed that it was her voice on the message, and that it was not a prank. "I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get passed (sic) what happened so long ago," Thomas said in a statement. "That offer still stands, I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same."
If this is what an olive branch looks like to Thomas, it would be interesting to know what she thinks an actual barb might be. It’s award-winning gall, shamelessness of a wholly unreal kind. Hill testified that Thomas sexually harassed her when they both worked at the Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
But there’s more. Virginia Thomas is an active Tea Party organizer and founder of the ultra-right political party Liberty Central, where Thomas’s bio describes her as "a fan of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham and other talk radio hosts. She is intrigued by Glenn Beck and listening carefully. She also enjoys motor homing and watching ’24?."
Some have called the voicemail a nasty publicity stunt.
Liberty Central is funded through anonymous donations–a political fundraising maneuver made possible by the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, for which Thomas’ husband voted.