NYT ad supporting Ford echoes Anita Hill support in 1991

Sixteen-hundred men took out a full-page ad in The New York Times on Wednesday to voice their support for Ch...

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 8:19 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 8:19 PM

Sixteen-hundred men took out a full-page ad in The New York Times on Wednesday to voice their support for Christine Blasey Ford in a powerful show of force that mirrors a 1991 ad supporting Anita Hill.

"We are 1,600 men who now stand behind Professor Anita Hill, as well as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, because we believe them," the ad reads.

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"As men who are allies in the fight to end violence and harassment against women and girls, we write to express our strong support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford for her willingness to speak out publicly and testify before the Senate about the sexual assault that she says was perpetrated against her by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh."

Ford alleges that Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, groped her and tried to remove her clothes during a party in their high school years. Both Kavanaugh and the White House have denied Ford's allegation as well as a second one from Deborah Ramirez, who says Kavanaugh inappropriately exposed himself to her while they were students at Yale University.

The ad, which placed the names along with the current cities of the 1,600 men behind a centered text box, was paid for by funds raised by The Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign. By Wednesday, more than 3,000 donors helped the group exceed their fundraising goal of $100,000 by more than $34,000. According to the crowdfunding page, the excess funds will go toward violence prevention programming.

Among the list of men are several notable individuals, including Tallahassee's Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is currently running for governor in Florida; Brian Sirgutz, a former vice president at HuffPost; and Shin Inouye, the director of communications for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a group that has strongly opposed Kavanaugh's nomination.

The ad calls on "all men of good will to stand with us to ensure that Dr. Blasey Ford's story is carefully and fully examined without bias or prejudice," and "demands that both Dr. Blasey Ford and her story be treated fairly, impartially, and with respect."

On Thursday, Ford and Kavanaugh are expected to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in an open hearing. CNN has previously reported that the Republican-controlled committee has hired Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Ford and Kavanaugh.

Wednesday's ad, which is titled "We believe Anita Hill. We also believe Christine Blasey Ford," is remarkably similar to an ad titled "African American Women in Defense of Ourselves" that ran in the Times 27 years ago in November 1991.

That ad, which was paid for by 1,600 African-American women, expressed their disapproval with the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas and the treatment of Anita Hill, who testified in October 1991 that Thomas sexually harassed her while she worked with him at the Education Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"We are particularly outraged by the racist and sexist treatment of Professor Anita Hill, an African American woman who was maligned and castigated for daring to speak publicly of her own experience of sexual abuse," the ad read.

"We pledge ourselves to continue to speak out in defense of one another, in defense of the African American community and against those who are hostile to social justice no matter what color they are," it read. "No one will speak for us but ourselves."

Echoing those sentiments, the male signatories of Wednesday's ad wrote that, "we are speaking out today in favor of a just process, and for the rights of women like Dr. Blasey Ford to be heard fully, fairly, and with respect."

In a statement, The Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign said that Thursday's hearing will be "one of the most contentious and consequential Supreme Court confirmation hearings in decades," and that the men were following "in the footsteps of those courageous black women" from the 1991 ad.

Similar public shows of support have come as of late. Last week, 24 women who attended the Holton-Arms School with Ford sent a letter of support for her to Congress, and members of her family issued a letter of support via Twitter. Dozens of women who know Kavanaugh signed a letter of support for him soon after Ford's allegation became public.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination early Friday.

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