Monica Samille Lewinsky (born July 23, 1973) is an American businesswoman who was caught up in a sex scandal concerning her affair with U.S. President Bill Clinton while working as an intern at the White House.
Lewinsky graduated with a Psychology degree from Lewis and Clark College in 1995, and afterwards she worked at the White House during Clinton's first term.
While at the White House she had a short-term sexual relationship with the President. Clinton and Lewinsky both denied that the relationship involved sexual intercourse. The news of this affair, and the resulting investigation, and impeachment, became known as the Lewinsky scandal.
Then-friend and confidant Linda Tripp was, unbeknownst to Lewinsky, recording their telephone conversations regarding her affair with Clinton. Later Tripp would serve the tapes to Kenneth Starr (independent prosecutor), and would be the basis for his continued investigation.
Lewinsky admitted that her relationship with Clinton involved oral sex in the Oval Office, including oral-anal contact. This was documented in the Starr report, which eventually led to President Clinton's impeachment on the allegation of perjury regarding the affair.
Clinton denied having sexual intercourse with Lewinsky while under oath in an unrelated trial. In a nationally televised clip from a White House news conference, Clinton claimed "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." The line later became a punchline for its technical verity and deceptive nature. Under pressure from Starr on August 19, 1998, Lewinsky's blue dress with Clinton's semen stain led to Clinton's apology for misleading the American people, and he admitted that he had had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky. Specifically, the pair had engaged in oral sex and oral-anal contact; Clinton denied having committed perjury on the basis that oral sex is not sexual intercourse. He soon faced impeachment hearings in the U.S. Congress. Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives but not removed from office by the Senate. Interestingly, Clinton saw his overall job approval ratings among the American people actually increase during and after the scandal.
The affair, and its sordid details, led to a period of cultural celebrity for Lewinsky; as an unlikely sex symbol, and as a younger-generation nexus of a political storm that was both lighthearted, and extremely serious at the same time. Some mild use of the name "Lewinsky" still exists as a term for oral sex, though Lewinsky references and jokes have long cooled in the public interest.
By her own account, Lewinsky survived the intense media attention by knitting. She now runs her own business, selling her own brand of handbags. She was also the host of the short-lived reality television dating program called Mr. Personality.
On March 4, 1999 Monica's Story, an authorized biography detailing her affair with Bill Clinton, went on sale in the United States.
- Monica's Story by Andrew Morton (Paperback 1999 Publisher: St. Marshal's Press ISBN 0312973624)
- One Scandalous Story: Clinton, Lewinsky, and Thirteen Days That Tarnished American Journalism by Marvin L. Kalb
- Our Monica, Ourselves : The Clinton Affair and the Public Interest (Sexual Cultures) by Lauren Berlant and Lisa Duggan
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