Monica Lewinsky says she would again apologize to former first lady Hillary Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, over the 1998 sex scandal that embroiled the White House and led to former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.
Lewinsky, who has become an activist for women’s rights and part of the #MeToo movement, wrote in a personal essay that 20 years later, amid the public reckoning over sexual harassment and gender-based power dynamics facing the United States, that she has chosen to again discuss her relationship with Bill Clinton while he was married.
Lewinsky says she participated in a 20-hour interview for an upcoming documentary titled “The Clinton Affair,” in which she and others unpack the turmoil that seized the nation’s attention and resulted in a special counsel investigation. The former president has come under fire this year for saying that he did not owe Lewinsky a public apology even in the era of #MeToo, the movement that aims to destigmatize the public sharing of sexual misconduct stories in the hopes of holding the perpetrators accountable.
“My first public words after the scandal … were an apology directly to Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton. And 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 wrote in the article published in Vanity Fair, where she is a contributing editor.
Still, she criticized Bill Clinton for appearing dismissive of the idea that he might owe her a public apology.
“For the first time in more than 15 years, Bill Clinton was being asked directly about what transpired. 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,” she wrote.