October 9, 2007
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR

   

JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS ACCUSER ANGELA WRIGHT SAYS THOMAS "PERJURED HIMSELF ONTO THE SUPREME COURT" ON NPR NEWS TELL ME MORE WITH MICHEL MARTIN TODAY, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9

WRIGHT DISCUSSES WORKING WITH THOMAS, HER ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM, AND HER REACTION TO THOMAS' MEMOIR

EXCERPTS BELOW; AUDIO AVAILABLE AT WWW.NPR.ORG


October 9, 2007; Washington, D.C. - Angela Wright, a former employee of Justice Clarence Thomas' who later accused Thomas of sexual harassment, tells NPR host Michel Martin that Thomas "perjured himself onto the Supreme Court" in an interview airing today, October 9 on NPR News' Tell Me More with Michel Martin.

Wright, who was fired by Thomas when she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, tells Martin that, when Thomas testified at his 1991 Senate confirmation hearings about her firing: "He perjured himself onto the Supreme Court. He said that I had been fired because he heard that I had called somebody on his staff the F word. … It was an absolute lie. Nothing that even remotely resembled that ever took place between me and Clarence Thomas. …Ultimately what happened was there was a commissioner who wanted my position for her person, and the entire situation was orchestrated so that I was relieved of that position."

On allegations that she did not testify against Thomas during his 1991 Senate confirmation hearings because she "got cold feet," Wright says: "The only reason I didn’t testify is because I wasn’t called to testify. I was there for three days waiting with my attorneys for the judiciary committee to call me, and it was their decision. …They decided that they really didn’t need my testimony, but there was just so much maneuvering behind the scenes. They wanted me to say that, please let me out of the subpoena, and then it was - you know, they wanted to portray me as having cold feet and backing out, and when we refused that deal, they finally offered me the opportunity to at least put my statement in the record. I think ultimately what happened is that they were just afraid to call me."

On her reaction to Thomas' new memoir "My Grandfather’s Son," Wright says: "I always knew him to be a mean-spirited, nasty, fairly unstable person. It was enlightening to read his account of his childhood, because that did put it in perspective. Actually, my heart went out to the young child Clarence once I understood he was a child whose father was absent, whose mother sent them away, who was raised by an unemotional grandfather. I finally understood where all his anger and mean-spiritedness came from. I knew it was there. And also, his self-loathing and his hatred for anything black or civil rights oriented or affirmative action."

On why she decided to come forward with her own allegations of sexual harassment against Thomas after hearing Anita Hill's testimony, Wright says: "I knew that Clarence Thomas was capable because he had made similar remarks to me and in my presence about my body and other women's bodies, and he did - he was very egotistical, and he did pressure me to date him, and he did drop by the house when unannounced."

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News Tell Me More. Television usage must include on-screen credit with NPR logo. For a full transcript of the interview, contact information is below. Audio of the interview is available at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15113601

Tell Me More, NPR's new news and talk program, brings fresh voices and perspectives to public radio. The daily one-hour series hosted by Michel Martin captures the headlines, issues and pleasures relevant to multicultural life in America. For stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org