This weekend, HBO premiers "Confirmation," a new drama about the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings. It's been 25 years since Hill testified about sexual harassment from then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
HBO's writers faced a particular problem. They were tasked with dramatizing a moment in American history that needs no dramatization. The truth of the Thomas hearings — which were broadcast live on national television in 1991 — is shocking enough.
So how do you dramatize such an important moment in recent history? And why now? Will this new take shed new light on the Thomas hearings?
Susannah Grant, screenwriter and director.
- "Controversy. Courage. Even conspiracy. Her name is now synonymous with many things but in 1991, when Anita Hill appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and accused then-Judge Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, she was simply a 35-year-old law professor at the University of Oklahoma."
- "When she first heard about the project, she told the students in the audience, she was skeptical. 'Hollywood takes a story and it doesn’t necessarily end up being the story that you know to be the truth.' She decided, though, to participate after realizing she would rather at least 'know what was going on.'"
- "Perhaps the most common complaint registered by Republicans, though, is the portrayal of Angela Wright, the so-called “other woman” who had been fired by Thomas and was set to testify that she, too, had been sexually harassed by him years earlier. In the HBO film, it’s mainly Republicans (with a little help from Biden) who prevent Wright from testifying."
- "Favoring restraint over fame, Hill says, 'I think a lot of people who wanted me to come out and be this hard-hitting, bombastic, angry, aggressive person and take a leadership role... I couldn't do that. This isn't who I was.'"
This segment aired on April 12, 2016.