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Anita Hill is named chair of Hollywood commission to end sexual abuse

Nelly | theGrio
(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

With the multitude of sexual harassment and assault claims that have rocked Hollywood, top executives in the industry have asked Anita Hill to chair the new Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace.

The commission announced that Hill accepted the post on Friday after a meeting with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, Nike Foundation founder and co-chair Maria Eitel, Nina Shaw, and venture capitalist Freada Kapor Klein.

“The Commission will not seek just one solution, but a comprehensive strategy to address the complex and inter-related causes of the problems of parity and power,” Kennedy said.

“The fact that so many industry leaders—across film, television, music, digital, unions, agencies, ATA, AMPAS, television academy and guilds—came together, in one room, to explore solutions speaks to a new era.”

Becoming a national figure

In 1991, Hill came forward to accuse Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his Senate confirmation process for U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Since then she’s been teaching law and policy at Brandeis University as well as being part of legal and cultural developments around harassment, and both racial and gender equality.

Hill has also chaired the Human Rights Committee of the International Bar Association and is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Women’s Law Center, as well as the Boston Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.

“I’m proud to be leading this newly-formed Commission on a long overdue journey to adopt best practices and to create institutional change that fosters a culture of respect and human dignity throughout the industry,” Hill said.

“We will be focusing on issues ranging from power disparity, equity and fairness, safety, sexual harassment guidelines, education and training, reporting and enforcement, ongoing research, and data collection,” she went on. “It is time to end the culture of silence. I’ve been at this work for 26 years. This moment presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to make real change.”

Hollywood’s sex scandal

Hill’s meeting with the commission happened 10 weeks after Hollywood was rocked by the allegations of sexual assault and rape of Harvey Weinstein.

Women have also come forward to make allegations against Matt Lauer, Louis C.K., Russell Simmons, Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey, Garrison Keilor and Al Franken among others.

The Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace will meet again early next year to define its mission, priorities and scope.

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