Law professor Anita Hill takes an oath October 12, 1991, before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington.
Anita Hill speaks on Weinstein, Trump scandals
01:32 - Source: CNN

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Hill accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment at work

"Awareness has been raised, but ... we have not held everyone accountable," she said

CNN  — 

The Harvey Weinstein scandal suggests workplace conditions have not improved nearly enough for women in the 26 years since then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas was accused of workplace sexual harassment, his accuser, Anita Hill, told CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday.

“We do have to ask ourselves in this moment: How far have we come to equality? How close are we if, in fact, women are having to endure this kind of behavior in their day-to-day lives, in the workplace and on the street?” Hill said.

“And if we ask ourselves that question, we need to also ask, today, for our leadership, whether it’s in the public or private sector, to step up and tell us what they’re going to do to stop the problem,” she said.

When Hill testified at Thomas’s confirmation hearing in 1991, he denied “each and every single allegation” against him. Thomas went on to be confirmed.

Weinstein, a Hollywood executive accused by several women of sexual harassment and assault over decades, also has dismissed some accusers, telling CNN through a spokeswoman that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied.” He apologized in a statement for “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past.”

Hill, an attorney who is now a professor at Brandeis University, lauded news the media’s continued coverage of the claims against Weinstein, who has been ousted from his position at his own company.

She noted that reporters in general no longer ask, “Why didn’t they speak up sooner?”

“By digging deeper, we’ve actually gotten to the bottom of that question … [I]t is dangerous to actually come forward, even today,” Hill said. “We’ve also gotten to some questions about how this kind of behavior can be sustained over three decades.”

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota pointed out that some powerful men who have been accused of sexual harassment, including Thomas and President Donald Trump, have gone on to great success in spite of the allegations. Others, like Weinstein and former Fox News head Roger Ailes, have been terminated from their positions; Camerota has detailed her own story of sexual harassment by the late Ailes.

Responded Hill: “Awareness has been raised, but clearly, we have not held everyone accountable, and we don’t have any real way to think about this. When we have these public figures, how do we hold each of them accountable?”