In principle, if not in detail:

Lillian McEwen was that woman.

At the time, she was on good terms with Thomas. The former assistant U.S. attorney and Senate Judiciary Committee counsel had dated him for years, even attending a March 1985 White House state dinner as his guest. She had worked on the Hill and was wary of entering the political cauldron of the hearings. She was never asked to testify, as then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), who headed the committee, limited witnesses to women who had a “professional relationship” with Thomas.

Now, she says that Thomas often said inappropriate things about women he met at work — and that she could have added her voice to the others, but didn’t.

The story

Hat tip: Virgil Samms

Comments

  1. #1 dean
    October 26, 2010

    You seem reserved in your comment: didn’t she say more:

    Calling him a “raving” alcoholic at times, Lillian McEwen said Thomas was obsessed with kinky porn and had little intellectual curiosity. The former prosecutor and administrative judge dated Thomas for several years in the 1980s and said Thomas’ attitude and personality changed drastically when he ended his vices without any professional help.

    I’m not sure what to make of her coming forward now, after keeping these comments to herself for so long.

  2. #2 sailor
    October 26, 2010

    I listened to the complete public hearings; they were fascinating. It was clear Anita Hill was telling the truth. She had excellent and credible witnesses that testified she had come to them years before the hearings and told them of the problems she had been having.
    I was fascinated, and talked to a lot of women about this at the time. They were not particularly in favor of Anita Hill. They believed her all right, but their attitude was “But we all put up with this shit all the time, its normal practice, it is not a big deal.” What happened at the time did upset Anita more than it would most other women.
    It was also not such a big deal to most men at the time. They had more witnesses he could have called, they declined, they really didn’t want to oppose Thomas all that much. I think it was not that they did not believe Anita, it was that they did not think it was an offense which merited not serving on the supreme court
    But here is the thing; Anita Hill’s testimony absolutely and almost overnight started a complete change in attitude towards sexual harassment in the workplace. Women get treated with far more respect in the workplace now than they did back then, and they owe it big to Anita for standing up.
    If Clarence Thomas had faced the same charges today as he did then, he would not have been confirmed, because now sexual harassment in the workplace is considered a serious offense.

  3. #3 Virgil Samms
    October 27, 2010

    I’m not sure what to make of her coming forward now, after keeping these comments to herself for so long.

    Did you miss the part about her having a manuscript she’s trying to sell?

  4. #4 sailor
    October 27, 2010

    Virgil, this is a fair comment, but it should also be known that Lillian McEwen told the people in charge of the congressional hearings about her relationship and was fully willing to testify. She was not called.
    She avoided talking to the press about it, but she did not hide the allegations to authorities.