Anita Hill says there’s a major difference between the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and her own experiences with workplace harassment.
“I didn’t have a hashtag,” she told an audience Saturday at Brandeis University.
But social media isn’t what it’s all about, she said.
“Some people think it’s about the hashtag and it’s about social media; I think that those are just platforms,” Hill said during a discussion with “Scandal” actor Tony Goldwyn about Hollywood activism.
“I think the real goal of the MeToo movement is to build empathy and community, and they’re doing an excellent job at that,” she added, according to an account of the event published in the Boston Globe.
Hill, a Brandeis University professor, was thrown into the public eye in 1991 when she accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment before an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee during hearings that riveted the nation. Despite her testimony, the full Senate voted narrowly to confirm Thomas to the nation’s highest court.
Since then, Hill’s comments have paved the way for national conversations about sexual misconduct in the workplace.
Today, she chairs the entertainment industry’s Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, joining top executives from companies like Disney and Amazon to address these issues.
Since October, millions of people in at least 85 countries have used the #MeToo hashtag to tell their stories.
“I’m overly optimistic because it keeps me alive, it keeps me going. And I’d rather be disappointed things don’t turn out as exceptional as I thought they would be than be disappointed because I didn’t really invest enough energy and time into it,” Hill said.
CNN has reached out to Hill for further comment but has yet to receive a response.
Last month, Hill gave Rutgers University’s spring commencement address. She told students that “we will never be the same” after #MeToo, so it’s important not to let the movement fade.
At Brandeis Saturday, Hill said she is surprised and encouraged that the #MeToo movement has become so intergenerational.
“It’s not just one age group that’s participating, and I think that gives it new life and new legacy,” she said. “Activism is good for the goals of activism, but at a university in particular, it’s also good for teaching and learning experiences.”