Monica Lewinsky abandons interview to 'stand up' for herself after an 'off limits' question about Bill Clinton

Tal Schneider/TwitterMonica Lewinsky walked out of an interview in Jerusalem on Monday when she was asked an ‘off limits’ question about Bill Clinton.
  • Monica Lewinsky walked off the stage at a conference in Israel on Monday when she was asked about Bill Clinton.
  • Yonit Levi, an Israeli journalist onstage with her, asked whether she still expected a personal apology from the former president.
  • Lewinsky stormed off and later said that the question was “off limits” and that she told Levi the day before not to ask it.
  • The Israel Television News Company, which conducted the interview, said the question did not violate Lewinsky’s request.

Monica Lewinsky stormed off the stage at a live event on Monday when she was asked a question about Bill Clinton.

Lewinsky had been at a conference in Jerusalem when Yonit Levi, an anchor at Israel’s Channel 2 News program, asked her whether she still expected a personal apology from the former president, who has insisted he doesn’t owe her an apology in private for their affair in the 1990s.

The conversation was meant to focus on a speech Lewinsky delivered shortly before on the dangers of the internet, she said.

Here’s what happened:

Levi: You talked about being abandoned by the main figure of the crisis, “who knew me intimately.” You said in an interview in NBC News, former President Clinton was rather irate when he asked if he ever apologised to you personally. He said: “I apologised publicly.” Do you still expect that apology, a personal apology?

Lewinsky: I’m so sorry, I’m not going to be able to do this.

Then Lewinsky took off her microphone and walked off the stage, a moment followed by applause from a few members of the audience.

The Israeli journalist Tal Schneider posted a clip of the episode:

Shortly after the incident, Lewinsky tweeted that the question about Clinton was “off limits” and that she had met with Levi the day before and asked Levi not to ask the question.

“There were clear parameters about what we would be discussing and what we would not,” Lewinsky said.

“The exact question the interviewer asked first, she had put to me when we met the day prior. I said that was off limits. When she asked me it on stage, with blatant disregard for our agreement, it became clear to me that 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. To the audience: I’m very sorry that this talk had to end this way.”

Read Lewinsky’s statement in full:

Levi’s employer, the Israel Television News Company, defended the question.

“The question asked was legitimate, worthy, and respectful and in no way deviated from Ms. Lewinsky’s request,” a spokesman for the company told Time.

Lewinsky was a 22-year-old White House intern when Clinton had an affair with her while president. Full details of the affair came to light during Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, and Lewinsky later said she was had received a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder in the fallout.

Earlier this year, Clinton lashed out at an NBC interviewer who asked whether he thought differently about his relationship with Lewinsky amid the US’s reckoning with sexual misconduct.

Clinton later blamed his temper on “the way the questions were asked.”

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