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Monica Lewinsky Says #MeToo

Former White House intern re-examining her interactions with Bill Clinton.

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Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern most famous for her affair with former president Bill Clinton (and subsequent federal investigation), wrote an essay for Vanity Fair about the affair’s long-term effects on her life, and her re-contextualization of it in the anti-sexual harassment and assault #MeToo movement.

Her thoughts also mark the 20th anniversary of the Kenneth Starr investigation into the Whitewater scandal — which exposed the affair between White House intern Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton.

In the essay, she speaks about the amount of negative press attention she received, and of “feeling alone” after being investigated and denounced by Clinton.

Lewinsky’s reemergence has come amid a resurgence in pop-culture coverage of 1990s-era national news scandals, including the film I, Tonya and the anthology television series American Crime Story. The Crime Story producers have announced plans to feature the Lewinsky-Clinton affair in the show’s fourth season.

In the essay, Lewinsky recounts finally meeting with Starr, which left her feeling pretty weird, it seems.

This was the man who had turned my 24-year-old life into a living hell in his effort to investigate and prosecute President Bill Clinton on charges that would eventually include obstruction of justice and lying under oath — lying about having maintained a long-term extramarital relationship with me.

Ken Starr asked me several times if I was ‘doing okay.’ A stranger might have surmised from his tone that he had actually worried about me over the years.

His demeanor, almost pastoral, was somewhere between avuncular and creepy. He kept touching my arm and elbow, which made me uncomfortable.

Lewinsky, who graduated from Lewis & Clark College, may yet cast the events of 1995-1997 in a different light, based on her revelations, the lens of history and the burgeoning #MeToo movement.

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Mary Dolan is a recent graduate of the journalism program at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow her on Twitter @scenesfromamary

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