First Episode of The Meteor’s and Pineapple Street Studios’ “Because of Anita” Podcast Out Today Featuring Kerry Washington, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Jane Mayer
Timed to the 30th anniversary of the Clarence Thomas hearings, episode one explores everything from the long-lasting impact of Thomas’s “high-tech lynching” line to why witnesses were never called to speak
The Meteor and Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios today premiere the first episode of “Because of Anita,”– a compelling new podcast marking the 30th anniversary of Professor Anita Hill’s testimony by examining the hearings’ impact from 1991 to 2021 and looking at how far we’ve come, or haven’t, in making the world and the workplace safer for all.
In partnership with presenting sponsor Audible, the podcast will publish four episodes over the next ten days and is available everywhere you get your podcasts. Check out the first episode and subscribe at: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/because-of-anita/id1585653889.
Hosted by The New York Times’ Dr. Salamishah Tillet and Cindi Leive, co-founder of The Meteor, “Because of Anita” honors the legacy of Professor Hill’s groundbreaking testimony and brings a fresh perspective to the Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings, held across one spellbinding weekend in October 1991. The new series features interviews with witnesses, journalists, legal experts, and real women whose lives were changed by this transformative moment in American history. Episode one “The Testimony” opens with new insights from journalist Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, who helped expose the investigation’s flaws; lawyer Kimberlé Crenshaw, who served on Professor Hill’s legal team; and Emmy Award-winning actress, activist and producer Kerry Washington, who immersed herself in the hearings in preparation for a film role portraying Professor Hill.
Kerry Washington on how the hearings affected her as a teenager: “When the Clarence Thomas hearings happened, it was my first time experiencing my own intersectionality … because I saw the split,” said Washington. “I saw that my father was experiencing one dynamic as a Black man, who had come up against his own kind of struggles with the limitations of his blackness in the workplace, and I saw my mother’s really intense reactions to being a woman in the workplace and understanding the limitations and the injustices that she had faced.”
Kimberlé Crenshaw on the painful legacy of Thomas’ “high tech lynching” metaphor: “I think the lasting significance of Clarence Thomas’ use of the high tech lynching and his subsequent confirmation to the Supreme Court provided a template that has, been used again and again and again to defend, to deflect, to excuse, to redirect responsibility for abusing Black women,” said Crenshaw. “We are at a period of history in which Black women and girls are still seen as responsible for so many of the social ills and not seen as legitimate targets of compassion and concern. So I think that the confirmation of Clarence Thomas on the heels of the false and artificial claim about lynching created a get out of jail free card for almost any way in which a Black woman could be abused by somebody in her own community.”
Jane Mayer on the ramifications of having a Supreme Court Justice who potentially lied under oath: “The idea that we have potentially two justices out of nine on the Supreme Court, who lied, it seems probable, under oath about whether they had sexually harassed women … has tremendous ramifications,” said Mayer. “It undercuts the credibility of the court … [and] Americans’ trust in government. But there’s no statute of limitations on investigating Supreme Court justices. And I think that this subject still should be opened up and looked at again.”
As the series unfolds, listeners will also learn of the domino effect of the Clarence Thomas hearings, through the words of Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, who was so enraged by the hearings that she ran for office—and became the first Black U.S. Senator in history. A powerful first-ever public conversation between Professor Hill and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. And an assessment—from “me too” founder Tarana Burke and others—on the enduring impact and how it has influenced where we are today.
“Because of Anita” episode one, “The Testimony,” is available today on Apple Podcasts, Audacy, Audible, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
About The Meteor:
The Meteor is a media company committed to using the power of journalism and storytelling to illuminate the modern movement for gender equity and racial justice. Fueled by an innovative collective of writers, filmmakers, artists, and activists, we work across all platforms—digital, audio, film, social, and live experiences—to engage audiences, connect communities and transform culture. Our work so far includes podcasts like Brittany Packnett Cunningham’s UNDISTRACTED, audio series including In Love and Struggle, virtual events like 21 for 21: Visions of a Feminist Future, ambitious video projects including a 90-minute YouTube program about domestic violence, and workshops on reproductive rights and other topics through our nonprofit affiliate The Meteor Fund.
About Pineapple Street Studios:
Founded in Brooklyn in 2016 by Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky, Pineapple Street Studios, an Audacy company, paved the way for in-depth, diverse storytelling by way of high-quality original and partner podcasts. Pineapple Street Studios creates inventive, award-winning original podcasts: multi-episode narratives, investigative journalism, branded series, and talk shows that routinely debut in the top ten on the Apple Podcasts charts, reach tens of millions of listeners, and have been cited repeatedly on “best-of” lists. Pineapple Street Studios is behind some of the most critically acclaimed shows, including 9/12, 70 Over 70, The 11th, Patrick Radden Keefe’s Wind of Change, Welcome to Your Fantasy, Missing Richard Simmons, Back Issue, The New York Times‘ Still Processing, activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham’s UNDISTRACTED, and The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow.
Media Contact: TheMeteor@SunshineSachs.com