“Impeachment: American Crime Story” Will Include Monica Lewinsky Thong-Flashing Scene, Thanks to Monica Lewinsky

Lewinsky is owning her story, thong straps and all

Monica Lewinsky attends The Hollywood Reporter's Power 100 Women In Entertainment at Milk Studios on December 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. She recently said she fought to keep the thong-flashing incident in the upcoming show "Impeachment: American Crime Story"
Monica Lewinsky isn't shying away from the juicy details.
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter

As a person who was barely alive when Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, there’s a lot I don’t really know about the Monica Lewinsky scandal — which, fortunately for those of us who weren’t alive and/or coherent for it the first time, is about to be detailed in the forthcoming FX series Impeachment: American Crime Story. However, certain details from the drama remain recognizable to anyone even vaguely familiar with the affair that rocked the nation in the ’90s: there’s a blue dress, something about a cigar, and also an infamous thong-flashing incident.

Lewinsky, who is an executive producer on the 10-part limited series, is well aware that these details have become ingrained in the American consciousness, which is why she fought to have the thong-flashing episode featured in the series.

Showrunner and writer Sarah Burgess recently told The Hollywood Reporter that she hesitated to include the incident — which reportedly involved Lewinsky briefly baring her thong straps for Clinton while the two attended a White House event together in 1995 — for fear of “retraumatizing Monica.”

Lewinsky, however, actually pushed to have the scene included, knowing that viewers would squawk if the notorious incident were left out, and that the criticism would fall largely on her own shoulders.

“Listen, I would’ve loved to have been really selfish and said, ‘That’s great that you guys think we don’t have to show that, fantastic,’ but I’m incredibly experienced in understanding how people see this story,” Lewinsky told THR. “So, ultimately, I felt two things: One was that I shouldn’t get a pass because I’m a producer; and two, that it was unfair to the team and to the project because it would leave everybody vulnerable.”

While Lewinsky should by no means feel obligated to feed the American public any more information about the details of her personal life for which she’s been shamed and reviled for over two decades, she’s obviously well within her right to finally share those details on her own terms and reclaim the narrative of which she was robbed years ago. Meanwhile, the choice to revisit the thong incident — perhaps something of a precursor to the early-aughts whale tail trend that saw the women of Y2K baring their thongs everywhere from paparazzi snaps to red carpets — is actually rather timely. With a Gen Z-led early-aughts fashion revival in full swing, the whale tail has been threatening to make a comeback as well — and, as we’ve previously discussed, this time it’s not about sex, but power.

As we’re reconsidering the broader implications of flashing a G-string over ultra-low-rise jeans, we’re also reconsidering the legacy of young women of the ’90s and 2000s who were forced to be America’s slut-shamed, openly mocked punching bags. Like Britney Spears and noted whale-tail icon Paris Hilton, perhaps Monica Lewinsky — and her iconic proto whale tail incident — will finally get the respect they deserve.

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