It was the scandal that shocked the world. In 1998, former President US President Bill Clinton admitted that he had “an inappropriate relationship” with Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky, now 40, alleged that between November 1995 and March 1997, she had nine (9) sexual encounters with Clinton, but not sexual intercourse. Beyoncé may have recently mentioned “He Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown” in her song Partition, but we haven’t heard from Lewinsky ever since the scandal.
In an interview with Vanity Fair Magazine, she finally speaks out after more than a decade. She hopes that with this article, she can finally put the past behind her once and for all.
“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress” she says.
On clearing the air: “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. . . . The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
On job hunting: “I turned down offers that would have earned me more than $10 million, because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do…but because of what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my ‘history, I was never ‘quite right’ for the position. In some cases, I was right for all the wrong reasons, as in ‘Of course, your job would require you to attend our events.’ And, of course, these would be events at which press would be in attendance.”
On correcting the record: She says that she still gets recognized even till this day. Monica who says she refers to Maureen Dowd – who won a Pulitzer prize for her series of articles on the scandal, as “Moremean Dowdy”.
Dowd says Beyoncé should correct the lyrics, “Thanks, Beyoncé, but if we’re verbing, I think you meant ‘Bill Clinton’d all on my gown,’ not ‘Monica Lewinsky’d.”
On Hilary Clinton calling her a narcissistic loony toon: “My first thought as I was getting up to speed: If that’s the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky. Mrs. Clinton, I read, had supposedly confided to Blair (Hilary’s close friend) that, in part, she blamed herself for her husband’s affair (by being emotionally neglectful) and seemed to forgive him. Although she regarded Bill as having engaged in ‘gross inappropriate behavior,’ the affair was, nonetheless, ‘consensual (was not a power relationship).”
On going public: She was inspired by 18-year-old male student Tyler Clementi who was secretly streamed via Webcam kissing another man and later committed suicide in September 2010.
Lewinsky and her mother were brought to tears. “She was reliving 1998, when she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because I, too, was suicidal. The shame, the scorn, and the fear that had been thrown at her daughter left her afraid that I would take my own life—a fear that I would be literally humiliated to death.”
She clarifies that she never attempted suicide. “My own suffering took on a different meaning. Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past?”
The full interview will be available on May 8.