This weekend, Kerry Washington will star in HBO’s “Confirmation” as Anita Hill, the woman who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during hearings for his Supreme Court nomination in 1991. The film has been generating buzz for a while now, but there’s one person who initially planned to steer clear of the controversial story’s retelling: Anita Hill herself.
As Washington revealed to Oprah during a Q&A for OWN’s new season of “SuperSoul Sessions,” Hill had no interest in being a part of “Confirmation” in any way, even refusing to have a conversation with the actress portraying her.
“In the beginning, Anita Hill wanted nothing to do with me,” Washington says. “She didn’t want to talk to me. She didn’t want to go through this experience. She was like, ‘I’m not interested.’”
Knowing how important Hill’s input would be, Washington helped convince Hill to reconsider.
I know what it’s like to show up for your purpose in life and have the unfortunate result of that be that you’ve lost a big part of what belonged to you.
“One of the ways that I was able to convince her that I was not out to exploit her — that I had a lot of compassion for what she had gone through — was that I said to her, ‘I too … struggle with the loss of privacy, and I know what it’s like to show up for your purpose in life and have the unfortunate result of that be that you’ve lost a big part of what belonged to you,’” Washington says.
Though the two women have had different paths in life, the notoriously private Washington knew they shared common ground.
“She changed the world and put sexual harassment on the stage and is a feminist icon; I just do what I want to do for a living. But that idea of losing your privacy is one that I deeply identify with, with her,” Washington says. “I fight to maintain mine.”