Monica Lewinsky ends interview abruptly, walks off stage after being asked a question regarding Bill Clinton
According to the former White House intern, the interviewer demonstrated 'blatant disregard for our agreement.' Lewinsky had informed them that such questions will be off-limits.
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky abruptly ended a live interview and stormed off the stage when an Israeli broadcaster asked her if she still expected a personal apology from former POTUS Bill Clinton. On Monday evening, Lewinsky had just finished delivering a speech about cyberbullying at the Jerusalem Convention Center in Israel when Yonit Levi, a well-known Israeli news anchor, asked her a rather incendiary question.
"Recently in an interview on NBC News, former President Clinton was rather irate when he was asked if he'd apologized to you personally and he said, 'I apologized publicly.' Do you still expect that apology? A personal apology?" Levi asked Lewinsky.
She immediately responded: "I'm so sorry. I'm not going to be able to do this" and walked off the stage, with Levi following a few steps behind.
.@MonicaLewinsky walking out abruptly on @LeviYonit (chief anchor at @NewsChannelIL ) few seconds into her on stage live Interview after being asked: do you still expect a personal apology from Pres. Clinton. “Sorry, i cant do this”. pic.twitter.com/ZN3BiGViwF— Tal Schneider טל שניידר تال شنايدر (@talschneider) September 3, 2018
Lewinsky later took to Twitter to explain what exactly happened. "After a talk today on the perils and positives of the Internet, there was to be a 15-minute conversation to follow up on the subject of my speech (not a news interview)," Lewinsky wrote. "There were clear parameters about what we would be discussing and what we would not. In fact, the exact question the interviewer asked first, she had put to me when we met the day prior. I said that was off limits. When she asked me it on stage, with blatant disregard for our agreement, it became clear to me I had been misled. I left because it is more important than ever for women to stand up for themselves and not allow others to control their narrative."
"To the audience: I’m very sorry that this talk had to end this way," she added.
Following the incident, Israel's Channel 2, which hosted the event, released a statement thanking Lewinsky for her time and acknowledging that "we respect her sensitivity and wish her luck." That said, Clinton told NBC News back in June that he didn't think he owed Lewinsky an apology anymore. "I do not – I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry," Clinton told NBC. "I apologized to everybody in the world."
The erstwhile commander-in-chief claimed he was also a victim as he left the White House with $16million in debt after the whole saga.
According to The Jerusalem Post, Lewinsky spoke about the public humiliation she suffered after news broke about her and Clinton's sexual relationship, adding that she was ostracized by the Jewish community in which she grew up after the incident. "My strong sense of family is rooted in the cultural traditions of Judaism, but there have been periods of my life where my faith has been challenged," she said. "I was shunned from almost every community which I belonged to, including my religious community. That led to some very dark times for me. There were moments for me when it seemed like suicide was the only way to end the pain and the ridicule."
Unlike women during the #MeToo era, Lewinsky said she was left alone without any public support at the time and revealed she was subjected to "cyberbullying, online harassment, and slut-shaming."
"I don’t think I would have felt so isolated if what happened in 1998 happened in 2018," she said. "By and large, I had been alone. Publicly alone. Abandoned most by the main figure in this crisis, who knew me well and intimately." Now, years after the ordeal, Lewinsky has finally broken her silence and re-emerged in public as an advocate against bullying and online harassment.
"I am in awe of the sheer courage and bravery of the women and men who have stood up and begun to confront the entrenched beliefs and institutions. Part of what has allowed me to shift [into public life], is knowing I’m not alone anymore," Lewinsky said.