Although it’s been almost 25 years since Anita Hill brought the topic of workplace sexual harassment into public discourse, the onetime employee of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the environment in many workplaces still makes it difficult for sexual harassment victims to come forward.
On NPR’s Morning Edition on Wednesday, Hill said that women’s ability to confront sexual harassers has come a long way since 1991, when Thomas’ nomination was embroiled in controversy after Hill accused him of sexually harassing her when she rebuffed his advances. But she added that women still face an uphill battle, especially in cases where there is a power imbalance or the woman works for the person harassing her. “Even among women who seem very powerful in their jobs… these problems exist,” she said.
Recent high-profile instances, such as former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s accusations about her boss, Roger Ailes, that led the former Fox News head to resign last month, prove that sexual harassment is still a problem, and underscore Hill’s point that even women in positions of power can still be victimized. “Even women who are perceived to have some power have trouble coming forward,” she said on NPR.
Hill also blasted Fox News for reportedly sending Ailes on his way with a $40 million severance package, saying that arrangements like this prevent harassers from feeling the consequences of their actions.