In its October 9 editorial, the Toledo Blade condemns Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for his ongoing "savaging" of Anita Hill. In a decidedly one-sided article, Hill is hailed as a hero for coming forward with her unsubstantiated sexual harassment allegations in 1991 against then-nominee Thomas. According to the Blade:
The Thomas confirmation hearings were painful to watch, but they were also important because they blew away the veil of complacency over sexual harassment. Women - and even some men - were empowered by Ms. Hill's testimony to step forward and file complaints and lawsuits against sexist practices that permeated the workplace and other areas of society. The result was positive change, if only because the potential cost of a legal judgment forced corporate America to better police its offices and boardrooms.
But for all the "positive change" brought forth by Hill, the editorial points out that problems still exist. In a shameful leap of faith, the Blade somehow blames Justice Thomas for the sexual harassment committed by New York Knicks Coach Isiah Thomas.
Meanwhile, the $11.6 million jury award to a former New York Knicks executive, who claimed she had been harassed by the basketball team's coach, Isiah Thomas, demonstrates that sexual harassment remains a problem in society. The reason for this intransigence, we submit, is the persistence of attitudes like those of Justice Thomas, who, in his book and in the TV interview, continues to blame Anita Hill for the accusations that threatened but did not derail his confirmation.
The Blade's main grievance against Justice Thomas is his audacity to continue in his denial of Hill's allegations, particularly now that Justice Thomas has published a book and granted several media interviews. While there has never been proof of Hill's claims, the Blade has no problem acting as judge and jury of Justice Thomas' guilt (see also prior post of Scott Whitlock), and consequently chastising him for his "same old smear against Ms. Hill."
He also reprises his attacks on Ms. Hill's character, saying she was not the demure, religious, and conservative lawyer she professed to be. That's a cut below "nutty and slutty," the perjorative Justice Thomas' most virulent defenders used back in 1991, but not by much. It's also a textbook example of how the perpetrators of sexual harassment typically respond to their accusers.
If the commentary here is about Justice Thomas, then why did the editorial board resort to citing the perjorative supposedly uttered by Justice Thomas' "virulent defenders"? And who exactly are these "virulent defenders"? The answer is that the editorial board is committing their own smear, tagging the Justice with a comment he never made.Of course there is no consdideration at all for the notion that Hill's allegations are false. If the harassment allegations were ever proven false, would the Blade then approve of the questions about Hill's character? Would they cite to Hill's "virulent defenders"? It is doubtful.