Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky has broken her silence on her 1990’s affair with then US President Bill Clinton, saying he took advantage of her even though it was a “consensual relationship”.
“I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened,” Ms. Lewinsky said in an exclusive article she wrote for Vanity Fair magazine.
In the article, Ms. Lewinsky said it is time to stop “tiptoeing around my past and other people’s futures. I am determined to have a different ending to my story.”
“I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. What this will cost me, I will soon find out,” she said.
Maintaining that her affair with Mr. Clinton was one between two consenting adults, Ms. Lewinsky wrote that it was the public humiliation she suffered in the wake of the scandal that permanently altered the direction of her life, according to Vanity Fair.
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship,” she said in the article.
Responding to a recently-disclosed 1998 conversation between Mrs Clinton and a confidante, in which the former First Lady described Miss Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony toon”, said if that were “the worst thing she said, I should be so lucky”.
Mrs Clinton had insisted that the sex between Mr Clinton and the then-21-year-old had no “real meaning” and said she had not been “sensitive enough” to her husband’s emotional state.
In an essay for Vanity Fair, Ms Lewinsky writes: “Hillary Clinton wanted it on record that she was lashing out at her husband’s mistress. She may have faulted her husband for being inappropriate, but I find her impulse to blame the Woman – not only me, but herself – troubling.”
Miss Lewinsky said she believed Mrs Clinton “blamed herself for her husband’s affair (by being emotionally neglectful) and seemed to forgive him”.
The renewed focus on Mr Clinton’s past infidelities will be welcomed by some of his wife’s political opponents as they look for ways to derail her potential 2016 bid for the White House.
“Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position…The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power,” she wrote according to the excerpts.
“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,” Ms. Lewinsky, said.
Ms. Lewinsky said in the article that when the news of her affair with Mr. Clinton broke in 1998, not only was she arguably the most humiliated person in the world, but “thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.”
Her current goal, she said, “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.”