Monica Lewinsky cuts short Jerusalem interview after question about Clinton apology


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Monica Lewinsky, an anti-bullying advocate who gained fame for her affair with Bill Clinton while serving as a White House intern, cut short a live interview in Jerusalem after the first question was about the former president.

Lewinsky appeared at a conference in the Israeli capital organized by the Israel Television News Company, where she delivered a speech and then sat  on stage for a live interview with Israel Channel 2 news anchor Yonit Levi.

Levi asked Lewinsky if she was still expecting a personal apology from Clinton over the inappropriate relationship, for which Clinton was impeached, Channel 2 reported.

“I’m so sorry, I’m not going to be able to do this,” Lewinsky said as she walked off stage following the question, according to reports.

Lewinsky said later in a tweet that she and Levi had discussed prior to the staged event what questions were fair game and what were off limits.

“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 said in the tweet. “When she asked me it on stage, with blatant disregard for our agreement, it became clear to me that I had been misled. I left because it is more important than ever for women to stand up for themselves and not allow others to control their narrative.”

Lewinsky also apologized to the audience “that this talk had to end this way.”

She did not publicly discuss her relationship with Clinton until 2014. In February, Lewinsky wrote a personal essay for Vanity Fair on the 20th anniversary of the investigation into the affair, in which she admitted that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder over the fallout from the investigation and publicity, and that the #MeToo movement had changed her perspective on the affair and its aftermath.

“I don’t think I would have felt so isolated if what happened in 1998 happened in 2018,” she told her Jerusalem audience. “By and large I had been alone. Publicly alone. Abandoned most by the main figure in this crisis, who knew me well and intimately.”

Lewinsky also told the audience that after the news broke of her affair with Clinton, “I was shunned from almost every community which I belonged to, including my religious community. That led to some very dark times for me.”

Clinton said in an interview in June with NBC’s “Today” show correspondent Craig Melvin that he felt his public apologies for the relationship were enough.

Recommended from JTA