In a moving new essay for Vanity Fair, Monica Lewinsky discusses why she chose to participate in the upcoming documentary The Clinton Affair (“Bye-bye, Lewinsky scandal,” she writes. “I think 20 years is enough time to carry that mantle”), saying that as challenging as it was to revisit the trauma of 1998, she wanted to share her story in her own words.
“Yes, the process of filming has been exceedingly painful,” Lewinsky concedes, noting that preparing for and participating in the over 20 hours of interviews for the docuseries left her feeling especially depressed. “But I hope that by participating, by telling the truth about a time in my life — a time in our history — I can help ensure that what happened to me never happens to another young person in our country again.”
Lewinsky also addresses her feelings toward the Clintons, who continue to maintain that they did not wrong Lewinsky. Last month, during an interview with CBS News Sunday Morning, Hillary Clinton denied that her husband’s affair with Lewinsky was an abuse of power, saying that Lewinsky “was an adult” at the time.
“If I were to see Hillary Clinton in person today, I know that I would summon up whatever force I needed to again acknowledge to her — sincerely — how very sorry I am,” Lewinsky writes.
As for Bill, who said in June that he did not feel he owed Lewinsky an apology, she said:
“So, what feels more important to me than whether I am owed or deserving of a personal apology is my belief that Bill Clinton should want to apologize. I’m less disappointed by him, and more disappointed for him. He would be a better man for it … and we, in turn, a better society.”
Lewinsky also underscored the difference in how she and the former president have been forced to confront the scandal over the years, writing: “If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer.”