Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, abruptly canceled a radio appearance on NPR today amid a swirl of media attention given to news of her recent effort to encourage Anita Hill to apologize for her allegations of sexual harassment against the justice 19 years ago.
The show On Point, produced by WBUR radio in Boston, announced that Virginia Thomas canceled a long-schedued appearance in which she was to talk about her advocacy group Liberty Central and her relationship to the Tea Party movement. She cited a "schedule conflict" according to the this report on a WBUR blog.
She had been receiving more and more attention because of ethical questions that have been raised about the possibility that her husband might rule on cases involving unnamed donors to her organization. But when news broke of her call to Anita Hill, triggering memories of the intense confirmation battle Thomas faced because of Hill's allegations, the story snowballed in the way that stories in Washington sometimes do.
The initial ABC News report confirmed that Thomas had made the call, which Hill reported to campus police. Hill said she would not apologize -- and had nothing to apologize for. Here is the text of Virginia Thomas' voicemail message, which was placed early on Oct. 9, a Saturday, to Hill's office at Brandeis University:
"Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day."
ABC also noted that in a 2007 interview in connection with publication of Thomas's memoir My Grandfather's Son, Virginia Thomas had voiced similar hopes that someday Hill would apologize.
Today Ken Foskett, author of a 2004 biography of Thomas, recalled during his research for the book, she was telling him the same thing. "In my interviews with Ginni, she said she hoped that Hill would find it in her heart to make amends some day, and that she (Ginni) had often thought of calling her to talk woman-to-woman. I guess she thought it was time to make that call."