News & Opinion | September 8, 2021 2:53 pm

Monica Lewinsky Says Bill Clinton “Should Want” to Apologize to Her

He doesn't, though

Monica Lewinsky attends the premiere Of FX's "Impeachment: American Crime Story" at Pacific Design Center on September 01, 2021 in West Hollywood, California. Lewinsky says she isn't holding her breath for an apology from Bill Clinton.
Monica Lewinsky isn't holding her breath for a Clinton apology.
Rich Fury/WireImage

It is a common if unfortunate reality that women who engage in extramarital affairs with powerful men often bear the shame, stigma and longterm negative effects of those public “scandals” for the rest of their lives, while the men involved typically receive little more than a public slap on the wrist before more or less returning to their regularly scheduled lives as powerful, successful men. (For reference, please see Rachel Uchitel and Tiger Woods.) Some might argue those men may owe the women in question an apology for sitting back and allowing them to bear the brunt of the public scrutiny, but such men rarely seem to agree.

No one knows this better than Monica Lewinsky, who is best known to this day for having an affair with then-President Bill Clinton as a White House intern in the ’90s. Clinton has made it known that he has no intention of apologizing to Lewinsky as recently as 2018, when NBC Today show correspondent Craig Melvin asked the former president directly if he feels like he owes Lewinsky an apology. “No, I do not. I’ve never talked to her,” Clinton replied. “But I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”

Fortunately, Lewinsky is done waiting for an apology that is clearly never coming. In her own recent Today show appearance, Lewinsky said she no longer craves the kind of closure a Clinton apology might have brought to the situation. “There was a long period before my life changed in the last six or seven years, where I felt a lot in terms of there not being this resolution,” Lewinsky told host Savannah Guthrie. “I’m very grateful that I don’t have that feeling anymore. I don’t need it.”

That said, Lewinsky still believes Clinton should want to issue the apology he claims he has no reason to. “He should want to apologize in the same way I want to apologize any chance I get to people my actions have hurt,” she added.

Meanwhile, Lewinsky is done trying to outrun the reputation that has followed her for decades, and is instead taking the narrative in her own hands as a producer of the new series, American Crime Story: Impeachment. The series details the Clinton/Lewinsky affair and subsequent impeachment of the then-president in 1998. But while Lewinsky is bravely reclaiming her narrative, she admitted it’s not easy to relive a fictionalized account of a traumatic life event.

“I do not recommend watching your early 20s be dramatized on TV,” she told Guthrie. “Especially in this instance where the truth really was stranger than fiction.”

Asked if she wants Clinton to watch the series, Lewinsky replied, “I don’t even know how to really answer that.”