Charlotte woman returns to spotlight with Clarence Thomas film

Staff reports

The recent HBO movie “Confirmation” has put Charlotte resident Angela Wright Shannon back in the spotlight over her connection to Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

In an interview with Roll Call, Shannon said the film took some liberties but “was true to the sense of what was going on there.”

In the film, Jennifer Hudson portrays Shannon, then known as Angela Wright.

“I thought she pretty much nailed me, having never met me. The only issue I had was, I don’t understand why she had to be hanging around the Greyhound bus station. We do have airports down here in ‘North Cackalacky,’” she told Roll Call.

In October 1991, Anita Hill testified at the Senate confirmation hearings that Thomas had sexually harassed her when she worked for him at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas called the proceedings a “high-tech lynching” and was confirmed in a close 52-48 vote. Their testimony riveted the country.

Thomas calls Hill’s charges “preposterous.” Hill stands by her testimony.

Shannon, a former Charlotte Observer reporter, worked for Thomas at the EEOC. He gave her a reference before she came to work at the Observer, calling her an “excellent employee” who worked “very well under stress.”

Shannon was fired by Thomas at EEOC, she said, because a commissioner wanted her position for the commissioner’s person. Thomas said – at the time of the hearings –that he had fired her because he had heard she called a colleague “faggot.”

“I don’t use the word. I’ve never used the word,” Shannon told the Observer in an earlier interview.

She had never met Hill, but found the law professor’s story familiar. She remembered that when she worked at EEOC in the mid-1980s, Thomas had made inappropriate comments about her body, had pressured her to date him, and had arrived at her Washington home uninvited.

Though a subpoenaed Shannon was never called to testify, she did give a sworn statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She told Roll Call in the recent story: “It bothers me that people didn’t get to see all of him because they painted this nice conservative Republican. … If you knew the whole man and some of the other ways he treated people, maybe it wouldn’t be so difficult for you to understand that yes, he’s a sexual harasser, too, because he was no respecter of people on so many other levels.”