Lewinsky reveals why she's speaking out about the affair in a new A&E documentary.
It's been over 20 years since Monica Lewnisky was catapulted into the limelight after President Bill Clinton's affair with her became the hottest headline of the '90s. And, all these years later, she's still got something to say.
Lewnisky took part in an upcoming A&E series titled "The Clinton Affair," sitting down with documentarians for 20 hours-worth of interviews. In a new piece she wrote for Vanity Fair, the activist explained why she decided to participate in the doc now, while expressing her disappointment for Bill and regrets for Hillary.
Reveling in the title, "The Clinton Affair," Monica said she was thrilled to bid adieu to "the Lewnisky scandal," a mantle she's carried for over two decades.
"In order to move forward in the life I have, I must take risks—both professional and emotional," she wrote of doing the special. "An important part of moving forward is excavating, often painfully, what has gone before."
"As much as I agonized over whether to participate in the documentary, it paled in comparison to the agony of preparing to be interviewed," Lewinsky continued. "Filming the documentary forced me to acknowledge to myself past behavior that I still regret and feel ashamed of. There were many, many moments when I questioned not just the decision to participate, but my sanity itself."
Lewinsky explained that she was delighted to tell her story from a female gaze for once, with more women participating both in front of and behind the camera. "Now, it's our time to tell our own stories in our own words," she wrote.
The interviews also made her confront her grief, something she initially thought was depression.
"Grief for having been betrayed first by someone I thought was my friend, and then by a man I thought had cared for me," she explained. "Grief for the years and years lost, being seen only as 'That Woman' -- saddled, as a young woman, with the false narrative that my mouth was merely a receptacle for a powerful man's desire."
Looking back at the then-president's forceful press conference denial of the affair with a new lens, she wrote that that's where "the demonization of Monica Lewinsky began. As it so often does, power throws a protective cape around the shoulders of the man, and he dictates the spin by denigrating the less powerful woman."
Lewinsky also reacted to Clinton being asked, during an interview with NBC this year, whether he felt he owed an apology to Monica. "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 recalled. "But in June of this year, during an interview on NBC, Craig Melvin asked Bill Clinton those questions. Was I owed a direct apology from him? Bill's indignant answer: 'No.'"
"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," she added. "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 added that she would reiterate how sorry she is if she were to run into Hillary in person today. "I know I would do this, because I have done it in other difficult situations related to 1998," she wrote. "I have also written letters apologizing to others—including some who also wronged me gravely."
The six-part miniseries "The Clinton Affair" premieres Sunday, November 18 on A&E.