Monica Lewinsky said Tuesday that she stormed offstage at a Jerusalem speaking event because of an interviewer’s “off limits” question about former President Bill Clinton.
The former White House intern turned anti-bullying activist tweeted that there were agreed-upon parameters regarding the topics of her televised conversation Monday night with a well-known Israeli news anchor, following a speech she gave about the perils of the internet.
She called Yonit Levi’s first question about her relationship with Clinton a “blatant disregard for our agreement.”
Levi, the main anchor of Israel’s top-rated evening newscast, asked Lewinsky if she still expected a personal apology from Clinton over the fallout from the scandal of their affair 20 years ago. Lewinsky responded: “I’m so sorry. I’m not going to be able to do this.” She then put down her microphone and walked offstage.
Levi anxiously followed her offstage as some of the stunned audience awkwardly clapped.
In a tweet several hours later, Lewinsky said she had been misled.
“In fact, the exact question the interviewer asked first, she had put to me when we met the day prior. I said that was off limits,” she explained. “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.”
Levi’s employer, the Israeli News Company, said it did its utmost to abide by all agreements made with Lewinsky.
“The question asked was legitimate, worthy and respectful and in no way deviated from Ms. Lewinsky’s request,” said company spokesman Alon Shani.
Clinton recently came under fire for responding defensively to questions in an NBC interview about his sexual relationship with the White House intern in 1998. He insisted he did not owe her a personal apology since he had already repeatedly apologized publicly. Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky helped lead to his impeachment.
Lewinsky, who for years kept quiet about the relationship before re-emerging as a public speaker, wrote in March that their relationship “was not sexual assault” but “constituted a gross abuse of power.”