Page 3 Profile: Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton’s intern


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An affair to remember…

And also one that just about everybody involved would rather forget. However Monica Lewinsky, who became embroiled in an affair with President Bill Clinton while working as an intern at the White House, has spoken out about the impact the scandal had on her life. In an article to be published in the US edition of Vanity Fair, Ms Lewinsky, who was 22 at the time of the furore, writes that Mr Clinton “took advantage” of her, but insists “it was a consensual relationship”. She says the only abuse she experienced came after their affair was exposed in 1998, when the President’s inner circle tried to discredit her and his opponents used her as a pawn.

But now she’s moving on?

“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” she declares, referring to the outfit she wore during a sexual encounter with the President in 1997 that was marked with a stain containing Clinton’s DNA. She adds that she was “possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the internet” and that she wants to speak out on behalf of other victims of online humiliation.

Sounds like a nice little money-spinner…

Cynics may agree but actually Ms Lewinsky has rejected copious offers to spill the beans in exchange for a hefty cheque, and has remained virtually silent on the matter.

“So silent, in fact,” she notes, “that the buzz in some circles has been that the Clintons must have paid me off; why else would I have refrained from speaking out? I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.” She adds: “I turned down offers that would have earned me more than $10m, because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”

Why dredge it all up now?

Ms Lewinsky discusses Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old US student who was secretly streamed via webcam kissing another man and subsequently committed suicide. She was brought to tears, she says, recalling how desperate she had felt during the media storm that accompanied the so-called “Zippergate” affair. “I, too, was suicidal,” she writes.  Following the Clementi tragedy, she says: “My own suffering took on a different meaning. Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation.”

What’s her plan?

Her current goal, she says in the article, which will be available to read in the digital edition of Vanity Fair from tomorrow, “is to get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums."