Monica Lewinsky says that nothing untoward happened between herself and Bill Clinton in the Oval Office proper, but rather, in Clinton’s private office next door, Huffington Post is reporting.
Lewinsky, now 45, has provided some rather intimate details about her scandalous affair with the 42nd president for an upcoming A&E documentary series The Clinton Affair, which lands on your TV this weekend.
The first and most important thing she wants to make clear is that, contrary to popular belief, none of the “monkey business,” as she calls it, that took place between her and Clinton took place within the confines of the Oval Office. All of the intimate encounters between the two took place next door, in Clinton’s private office. In the Oval Office, all the president and the young (at the time) White House intern did was talk, mostly about how they were going to cover their tracks.
“There were always ways that we talked about it: How do we be careful? Of course, you’re going to deny this. We were both cautious, but not cautious enough.”
Lewinsky also owns up to the fact that the affair between the two lasted for two solid years, between 1995 and 1997, though it wasn’t revealed until 1998.
She also gave some insight into how the story broke. Overwhelmed and directionless, Lewinsky confided in fellow White House employee Linda Tripp. Tripp instead recorded the conversations and handed them over to special counsel Ken Starr, putting Lewinsky in the awkward position of being “outed” as having lied under oath.
“I did feel uncomfortable about [lying], but I felt it was the right thing to do, ironically.”
Now 45 and decades removed from the salacious news story that made her a household name, these days Lewinsky has her hands in a variety of industries, from advertising to retail to social media advocacy. Perhaps most famously, according to Business Insider, she aligned herself with the #MeToo movement, which calls attention to the problem of women and girls who have silently endured sexual abuse, assault, or harassment.
And even though Lewinsky admits that her affair with Clinton was consensual, at its core there was still a power imbalance in their relationship. Lewinsky was a 22-year-old White House intern at the time, while Clinton was over twice her age and, at the time, the most powerful man on Earth. And she was written about that power imbalance, calling Clinton’s role in the affair a “gross abuse of power.”
“I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot. (Although power imbalances — and the ability to abuse them — do exist even when the sex has been consensual.)”
The Clinton Affair premieres on A&E at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Nov. 18.