In 1991, attorney Anita Hill sent shock waves across the country. During the hearings for Clarence Thomas’ U.S. Supreme Court nomination, she testified that Thomas had sexually harassed her while he was her supervisor at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
When Kerry Washington was cast to play Anita Hill in the upcoming HBO film Confirmation, the actress decided she wanted to reach out to Hill to help prepare for the role. That was easier said than done. In a Q&A with Oprah following a taping for a new season of SuperSoul Sessions, Kerry reveals that Hill had no interest in talking to the actress—at first.
“She was like, ‘I’m not interested,'” Kerry says. “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 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.'”
Here, Kerry reveals what she said to Anita Hill to initiate a dialogue.