Wendell Pierce on Playing Clarence Thomas in HBO’s ‘Confirmation’: ‘I Believe Something Happened’ With Anita Hill

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Actor Wendell Pierce, who plays Clarence Thomas in HBO’s Confirmation, says he believes “something happened” between Thomas and then-law professor Anita Hill (Kerry Washington). Hill accused her former Equal Employment Opportunity Commission boss Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991, just as his Supreme Court confirmation hearings were about to begin.

“My opinion of whether or not he did it goes back and forth,” Pierce said in an interview on SiriusXM. “I know if he is guilty of what he is accused of it’s awful and should never be accepted. I believe that something happened.”


Former Thomas lawyers and other individuals close to his contentious confirmation process have accused HBO of using this film to peddle an anti-Republican message in the middle of an election year.

“HBO made this movie in an election year to support Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party, which loves to claim that a mythical ‘war on women’ is underway by Republicans,” said former Bush administration lawyer Mark Paoletta, who was a member of Thomas’s legal defense team during his hearings.

“I believe a portion, at least at the bare minimum, a portion of what Anita Hill said,” Pierce added. “But I also remember one thing that the justice said, which is: ‘I fully deny any of these accusations, but if I did say or do anything to Professor Hill or any other woman, I am so very deeply sorry.’ His contrition and that statement really opened up a window to the fact that I know he was reflective of trying to figure out what happened.”

Confirmation will ultimately focus on actress Kerry Washington’s performance as Anita Hill. The Scandal star has described the film as “very important” for the way it has “changed the global conversation” around “gender, in terms of race and how we understand those things.”

Confirmation airs on HBO on April and was written by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) and directed by Rick Famuyiwa (Dope).

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson


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