Former White House intern and anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky walked out of an interview in Jerusalem on Monday night after she was reportedly asked a sensitive question about her affair with then-President Bill Clinton.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the interview took place after Lewinsky spoke at a Channel 2 News conference, discussing the aftermath of the controversy surrounding her past affair with Clinton. She then spoke to news anchor Yonit Levi, who then asked her if she is still expecting the former president to apologize to her in private.
“I’m so sorry, I’m not going to be able to do this,” Lewinsky said before walking off the stage.
Although the news conference’s organizers were not able to confirm a reason for Monica Lewinsky’s walkout, she issued a statement on Twitter shortly after the interview, claiming that Levi “misled” her about the questions she was supposed to be asking and went against what was agreed to beforehand.
“There were clear parameters about what we would be discussing and what we would not,” Lewinsky wrote, adding that she had told Levi the question about expecting an apology from Clinton was not to be asked.
“When she asked me [the question] 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.”
In response to Monica Lewinsky’s claim that Levi had disregarded their prior agreement about which questions should not be asked, Channel 2 News issued its own statement, thanking Lewinsky for showing up for the conference and stressing that the network respects her “sensitivity.” Channel 2 added that the question Levi asked was “legitimate, worthy, and respectful,” and that it did not, in any way, “[go] beyond Ms. Lewinsky’s requests.”
Prior to her sit-down interview with Levi, Monica Lewinsky recalled in a speech the negative experiences she went through after it was revealed that she and Clinton had an affair while she was working as a White House intern. As quoted by the Jerusalem Post, Lewinsky said she was “shunned from almost every community” she belonged to, including the Jewish community she grew up in. She also recalled times when she wanted to commit suicide as a result of the emotional pain brought about by the hurtful comments made against her.
In addition to recalling those low points, Lewinsky, who became an anti-online bullying activist when she returned to the spotlight in 2014, also compared the abuse she received in the late ’90s to what would now be described as “cyberbullying, online harassment, and slut-shaming,” according to the Huffington Post.