'Up Close and Personal: The Private Lives of Public Figures' a talk by Prof Sue Mendus, 13 October 2015
Up Close and Personal: The Private Lives of Public Figures
Over the years numerous public figures have had their careers damaged or even destroyed by revelations about their private lives: the Monica Lewinsky affair almost brought down President Clinton, Cecil Parkinson fell rapidly, and dramatically, from grace when his affair with Sarah Keays was made public and, most recently, Lord Sewel was forced to resign as deputy speaker for the House of Lords when his interest in prostitutes and orange bras was made public.
Revelations of this kind are often defended as being in the public interest, but do we (the people) really have an interest in knowing about the private lives of public figures? How much can we legitimately demand to know about them, and how much is (or should be) private? These are the questions I will address in this talk and I will take as my central example the case of Judge Clarence Thomas and Ms Anita Hill.
The talk will last about 30 minutes and I hope that there will be a lively discussion afterwards.
 I will give the broad outline of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill affair during my talk but, for those who wish to look this up in advance, they are to be found here: https://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/122/hill/hillframe.htm