Hill’s Double-Standard Defense of Bill Clinton’s Sexual Misconduct
As the Bill Clinton sex scandals materialized, Anita Hill became less of an advocate for exposing sexual harassment and more of a political operative. On March 22, 1998, Hill was on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert where she was asked about Gloria Steinem’s defense of President Clinton.
Hill responded by saying women should focus on the “bigger issues” before casting judgment on Clinton for the sexual harassment allegations:
I think what Ms. Steinem also says that we have to look at the totality of the presidency and how has he been on women’s issues generally? Is he our best bet, not withstanding some behavior that we might dislike, and I don’t think that most women have come to the point where we have said, ‘Well, this is so bad that even if he is better on the bigger issues, we can’t have him as President.
Watch Hill’s answer here:
After Hill’s defense of Bill Clinton, Russert asked Hill if there is a “double standard for a liberal as opposed to a conservative.” Hill essentially conceded there is a double standard and once again defended Clinton based on his positions on the “larger issues.” Hill stated:
Well, I think it is a reality that we have to live with. We live in a political world and the reality is that we want—there are larger issues, larger issues other than just individual behavior.
At the end of the “Meet the Press” interview, Gwen Ifill asked Hill if Paula Jones had a sexual harassment case against Clinton. Hill was indifferent to Jones’s plight and instead attempted to prove her case had no merit. Hill told Ifill:
Paula Jones’ case is peculiar in a number of ways. . . . one of the things that seems to be missing from what I’ve read about the case is the discrimination element. . . . . I have a hard time finding any adverse ramifications for her, in terms of her employment based on the alleged incident in the hotel room.
Hill may not have thought Jones had a case but Bill Clinton did. He settled with Jones on November 13, 1998 for $850,000.
When it came to Monica Lewinsky, Hill once again tried to defend Clinton by playing down the scandal as “an office affair.” In a New York Times op-ed, Hill claimed that even comparing the allegations against Clinton to those against Clarence Thomas (or former Senator Bob Packwood) was “at best misguided, and at worst dangerous.”
The substance of sex-related accusations against President Clinton differs dramatically from those raised against Justice Thomas or Mr. Packwood…In the case of Mr. Packwood and Mr. Thomas, the accusations involved sexual harassment. To equate those allegations with an office affair is to trivialize issues of sexual predation that women face in the workplace and on the street. Nor are the situations morally equivalent.
Based on Hill’s reaction to Bill Clinton’s sex scandals, it is clear she is willing to overlook sexual harassment charges if the harasser is a good Democrat. Hill has always liked to portray herself as a champion of women, especially those who have been sexually harassed, but it is all a ruse. Hill is more interested in advancing a political agenda or political party than being a consistent advocate for victims of sexual harassment.
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