KEY POINTS

  • Hill said Biden's attempts to apologize to her had passed the "statute of limitations"
  • Hill has faced criticism for not accepting Biden's overtures
  • She said that she didn't want to set a bad example for other victims

Last April, when various Democrats were beginning to consider throwing their hat in the ring for the party’s presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden realized he needed to address one skeleton in his closet first: Anita Hill.

On the first day of his campaign, Biden announced that he had recently reached out to Hill to express “his regret for what she endured” nearly thirty years ago. Hill, however, recently said that the former vice president’s apologies are too little, too late.

In 1991, then-President George Bush was seeking to confirm Clarence Thomas as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. During his confirmation hearing, Hill, who had previously worked with Thomas, was asked to testify on how he had allegedly sexually harassed her repeatedly. During the hearing, Biden was serving as the Senate Judiciary chairman and was a major figure during Hill’s testimony and questioning.

Biden’s treatment of Hill at that time has served as a major point of criticism since he began his bid for Democratic nominee, especially during the "Me Too" era.

Speaking recently during a lecture on sexual harassment at the University of Iowa, Hill said that “the statute of limitations” for an apology from Biden had long passed. Hill described how she faced criticism last year when she “didn’t immediately open my arms and embrace him” and immediately forgive him; that’s because his apology wasn’t enough, she said.

“Here is what I want now... Would you promise to use all of your energy to address the problem as it happened and to prevent it from happening to another generation? That’s what I want to hear [from Biden],” Hill said.

Hill also said that she didn’t want other women who have found themselves in similar positions to feel they need to follow her example and offer forgiveness when it’s not forthcoming.

Beyond Hill, Biden has faced general criticism over his apparent tendency to enter individuals’ private space in public, particularly with women. Biden’s campaign has rejected these insinuations, stating that the former vice president’s physicality is just a part of his down-to-earth nature.

Iowa is set to be the first state to caucus on Feb. 3. Polling currently shows Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in a heated contest for the top spot, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg not far behind.

anita hill U.S. law professor Anita Hill takes oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, Oct. 12, 1991. Photo: Jennifer Law/AFP/Getty Images