The only people who don’t want to hear how Monica Lewinsky’s #MeToo career revival has hit the resale market?
Twenty-year-old Monica Lewinsky got her start during the Clinton impeachment crisis as a White House intern on the road to a future as a public figure. On his popular Netflix show “The Politician,” Ryan Murphy penned a poignant indictment of America’s quick to believe in sexual assault, played out with every bit of melodrama we expect from the ever charming creator of “Glee.”
Where Lewinsky’s career fell flat post-Clinton scandal and subsequent prostitution scandal, however, is somewhere neither Murphy nor his characters could have imagined.
She was never paid for her story, and just two years later, to begin a demanding job as a White House intern, she was known for a one-night stand with an American president that landed her in a costly sexual assault scandal. Amid this scandal and open media scrutiny, Lewinsky’s identity grew to be a public lightning rod.
At the time of her Playboy photo shoot, Lewinsky was in a double dating relationship with fellow White House intern Sidney Blumenthal and then-Republican lobbyist Sam Donaldson, whom she met at the White House. Several months after Lewinsky took her job as a traveling press secretary, she met President Bill Clinton in the White House for what was a planned private gathering. The room was dark, so Lewinsky couldn’t see what was happening between the two as they arranged to go back to Clinton’s private quarters.
According to Vanity Fair, which published their initial 1998 article on the investigation, Clinton had invited Lewinsky and Linda Tripp, an FBI employee who was having an affair with Clinton’s friend Vince Foster, for drinks.
“In the short time it took them to finish the drink, Lewinsky noticed that Clinton was less interested in her question than in talking to Tripp,” Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote. “While Tripp would find herself the subject of harsh criticism and ridicule for betraying the president, Lewinsky became his likely next victim.”
After the cocktail party, the group “set off to grab dinner at a nearby restaurant,” Grigoriadis wrote. Lewinsky sat between Clinton and Tripp, and they began discussing her future, from playing tennis to traveling.
After they were finished eating, they kissed, they left, and that was that.
But as it turns out, this was not the end for Lewinsky and her personal story.
Lewinsky said she turned to journalism and wrote a new chapter of her life after her affair with the president resulted in the largest scandal of her generation.
“I’ve been back in New York for the past six years doing advocacy work for survivors of sexual assault and harassment,” Lewinsky told Vanity Fair last month. “I still want to speak out and create awareness and awareness and hopefully change things.
Her confirmation by Netflix’s “The Politician” to become a full-time commentator brought her career back into focus and full circle.
“Monica’s life turned in a 180 degree turn and she’s using that to make change, and to make herself known,” said her publicist, Carroll Holcomb, who added that they won’t be disclosing a precise dollar figure until she signs the contract.
But thanks to Murphy, Lewinsky’s story will only continue to gain traction and relevance as more than two decades pass since she appeared in the public’s collective eye.
“I’m very proud of it. I’m very honored that people are interested in it,” Lewinsky said. “It’s so exciting for me to have a chance to influence change and to live with the experience of seeing a decision to be a decision that has been made.”
Lewinsky’s journey is a lesson that everyone needs to watch as more and more college students come into an ever greater number of prominence. To not give them permission to interpret their experience differently than they are given by their parents and teachers is a huge loss and setback for them.