Monica Lewinsky isn’t about to let someone else control her story.
The 45-year-old public speaker and activist gave a talk at a news conference in Jerusalem this week. Afterwards, reporter Yonit Levi sat down with Lewinsky for the Q&A portion of the event, and her first question was about former President Bill Clinton.
Clinton, 72, was impeached by the House of Representatives in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice after admitting to a sex scandal with Lewinsky, but was acquitted by the Senate in 1999. He previously denied the affair, illegally lying under oath and trying to cover up his relationship with the then 22-year-old Lewinsky.
"Recently in an interview in NBC News, former President Clinton was rather irate when he was asked if he’d ever apologized to you personally. He said he apologized publicly. Do you still expect that apology?” Levi asked.
Lewinsky paused for a moment before saying, "I’m so sorry. I’m not going to be able to do this.”
She then stood up and walked off the stage. Lewinsky later took to Twitter to explain her decision to leave the event early.
"After a talk today on the perils and positives of the Internet, there was to be a 15-minute conversation to follow up on the subject of my speech (not a news interview),” she wrote. "There were clear parameters about what we would be discussing and what we would not. In fact, the exact question the interviewer asked first, she had put to me when we met the day prior. I said that was off limits.”
Lewinsky was very frustrated to hear the interviewer completely ignore the agreement and go ahead with the question.
"When she asked me it on stage, with blatant disregard for our agreement, it became clear to me I had been misled,” she noted. "I left because it is more important than ever for women to stand up for themselves and not allow others to control their narrative. To the audiences: I’m very sorry that this talk had to end this way.”
Clinton became visibly upset in June during an interview with NBC when asked if he’d apologized to Lewinsky for the effect their affair and the public fallout has had on her life.
“I’ve never talked to her,” he said at the time. “I did say it publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”
He later admitted on The Late ShowWith Stephen Colbert that he regretted his angry response to the question.
“When I saw the interview, I thought that [it was tone deaf],” he said. “Because they had to distill and it looked like I was saying, ‘I didn’t apologize and I had no intention to.’ I was mad at me.”
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