Lewinsky breaks years of silence to write about her affair with Clinton
Vanity Fair publishes article by ex-White House intern who insists dalliance ‘consensual’
A photograph showing former White House intern Monica Lewinsky meeting President Bill Clinton at a White House function in the 1990s
Seventeen years after her affair with President Bill Clinton rocked the US political establishment, former White House intern Monica Lewinsky has broken years of silence to say she regretted the affair but stressed that her dalliance with the president was “consensual”.
Coming at an awkward time for Mr Clinton’s wife Hillary as she mulls a presidential run in 2016, Ms Lewinsky has written about her affair with the 42nd American president in Vanity Fair magazine, which published excerpts from the article.
Writing for the first time about the affair, Ms Lewinsky, now 40, writes that it’s “time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress” – the latter a reference to the infamous piece of stained clothing that she chose not to have cleaned after one sexual encounter with Mr Clinton.
She accused the Clinton administration of making her a “scapegoat” for the affair. “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,” she wrote.
Ms Lewinsky maintains that she and Mr Clinton were consenting adults in the relationship.
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,” she writes in the article headlined “Shame and Survival” .
The political scandal around the affair led to an investigation culminating in the Republican-led House of Representatives impeaching the Democratic president but he was later acquitted by the Senate.
Responding to Mrs Clinton’s description of her as a “narcissistic loony toon” in correspondence with a close friend during the 1990s, Ms Lewinsky said: “If that’s the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky.”
Ms Lewinsky says she was “virtually reclusive” during the 2008 presidential campaign in which Mrs Clinton was a candidate and that she feels “gun shy yet again, fearful of ‘becoming an issue’” because of the prospect of the former First Lady running for the White House again in 2016.
Ms Lewinsky said she contemplated suicide over her humiliation around the affair and chose to share her story after the suicide of a gay teenager university student who was filmed kissing another man.