It was the year 1998, in the middle of President Clinton’s second term when the news broke that a 19 year old intern named Monica Lewinsky had been having an “affair” with the President. It dominated the news for months, and led to Clinton’s impeachment by the House of Representatives for lying under oath when called to testify about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky and about the sexual misconduct accusations that had been brought by Paula Jones.
However, the years passed and Ms. Lewinsky grew up and moved on- and the affair slipped into the pages of history. But wait a minute- not so fast. It was announced this week that Lewinsky has written a tell-all book and claims her decision to do so was prompted by the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi after his then roommate filmed him with another man in their dorm room and posted it online. Apparently Ms. Lewinsky had thought about suicide too back in 1998- and now she wants to tell her story to help others who may be going through a similar experience. However, four years is a long time to react and if we take a closer look, Ms. Lewinsky could have other motivations that answer the question, “why now?”
Lewinsky, now 40, went on to earn a masters degree at the London School of Economics- yet she has been gainfully unemployed for much of her adult life. She blames this primarily on the notoriety that resulted from the scandal and the reluctance of employers to hire her due to the negative attention she might attract. She also claims she turned down lucrative deals that would have capitalized on the scandal and subsequent great job offers because they weren’t right for her. After all that, why unearth this now and risk more negative publicity and rejection?
Could it be that this book release has been timed for the upcoming primary season when Presidential hopefuls begin to announce and the media turns its spotlight on the next race? Ms. Lewinsky’s rival in 1998 was then First Lady Hillary Clinton, who is now considered to be the top candidate for the Democratic ticket. Hard to believe this is just a coincidence. After all, Ms. Lewinsky needs to earn a living and tell all books featuring “it” players sell well- and can lead to a whole new career in writing or media. Then there is the pay back angle. Lewinsky has said that she was abused and scapegoated in the aftermath of the 1998 scandal in order to protect the President and First Lady. Now she has the opportunity to take some of that power back by casting both the candidate and potential First Spouse in a negative light and perhaps negatively impacting the election.
Writing this book to get her side of the story out and/or for those who are considering suicide could indeed help Ms. Lewinsky to finally heal and move forward. Writing it as payback could earn her some new fame and fortune- but her infamy will live on.