Tuesday December 07, 2021

Monica Lewinsky’s new brand: professional victim
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By Andrea Peyser
July 7, 2014

Monica Lewinsky’s new brand: professional victim

Monica Lewinsky cuts a tragicomic figure, faced with advancing age and zero prospects for a job, a romance or a reunion with her one-time obsession, former President Bill Clinton.

Members of my 15-year-old daughter’s generation pity Lewinsky for playing the loser. At least those of them who’ve heard of the lady who failed to dry-clean a blue dress stained with the president’s seed way back in the ’90s and whose surname is a synonym for a sex act often performed on men by people who are fully clothed.

So what does a toothsome, former beret-wearing White House intern do if her entire life has been reduced to the punch line of a sick joke? Work with impoverished African children? Star in an adult film? Disappear?

If you’re Monica Lewinsky, now 40, unemployed, single and rapidly fading into cultural obscurity, you promote yourself as a brand: a professional victim. But is America ready for the new Lewinsky, a woman so pathetic she refuses to consider that Bill Clinton might have played a role in her many failures?

In her first TV appearance since 2003, Lewinsky told the National Geographic Channel that she was “a virgin to humiliation” before news of her sex life became a national obsession.


She made the unfortunate remark in a three-part special, “The ’90s: The Last Great Decade?” which premiered Sunday night, evidently choosing the word “virgin” as if to imply that purity was once her strong suit.

Lewinsky recounted the day in 1998 that independent counsel Kenneth Starr released his report detailing the Lewinsky/Clinton sexploits.

“That was one of the worst days of my life,” she said. “I was a virgin to humiliation of that level until that day.

“To have my narrative ripped from me and turned into the Starr report and things that were turned over or things they delved out of my computer that I thought were deleted. I mean, it was just violation after violation.”

She said, “To be called stupid and a slut and a bimbo and ditzy and to be taken out of context, it was excruciating. To be in the vortex of this media maelstrom was quite alarming and frightening. And confusing. I think a lot, too, had to do with the fact that I was a woman.”

Clinton was ultimately impeached by Congress, then acquitted by the Senate in 1999 on charges of lying under oath and obstruction of justice.

Lewinsky’s sad-sack routine began in earnest when she penned an essay in last month’s issue of Vanity Fair in which she blamed everyone for her woes, from the media to Starr to potential employers who failed to hire her to ex-pal Linda Tripp — the then-Pentagon employee who secretly taped Lewinsky dishing about Clinton on the telephone, then handed the tapes to Starr’s office.

Lewinsky even took a shot at the president’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The former first lady, US senator and secretary of state, and probable 2016 Democratic presidential contender, once said Lewinsky, her rival for her husband’s intimate affections, was “a narcissistic loony toon,” Hillary confidante Diane Blair wrote in recently unearthed papers.

Hillary confided in Blair, who died in 2000, that her failures as a wife were partly to blame for driving her husband to infidelity.

“I find her impulse to blame the Woman . . . troubling,” Lewinsky wrote. She has a point there.

I once counted myself as a Lewinsky supporter. Not anymore. I am appalled that the “Portly Pepperpot,” as Lewinsky was aptly dubbed by Post sports columnist Hondo, defends Bill Clinton, who accepted her services, then dumped her like a used strumpet. Sexual relations between the most powerful man on the planet and the lovesick underling took place in and around the Oval Office beginning in 1995, when Monica was unwed and 22 and the president was a 49-year-old married father.

I don’t know if Lewinsky has undergone bad psychotherapy or if, like Hillary Clinton, she’s fundamentally incapable of slamming the guy who did her wrong. But Bill Clinton gets a pass.

What an awful example she sets for young women!

Lewinsky wrote, “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: It was a consensual relationship.’’

Lewinsky’s unsuccessful search for employment took her from New York to Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, and to England, where she earned a master’s in social psychology in 2006 from the London School of Economics.

For a while, she exploited her notoriety, selling handbags, giving a 1999 interview to Barbara Walters, authorizing a biography, participating in a 2002 HBO documentary, “Monica in Black and White,” serving as a pitchwoman for the Jenny Craig diet program and, in 2003, hosting a TV show on the Fox network called “Mr. Personality,” in which she advised a contestant about picking a husband from among 20 men whose faces were covered by masks. Time magazine put it on its list of “Top 10 Skanky Reality Shows.” It lasted five episodes.

Now she wants to fight cyberbullying. “My current goal is to get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums,” Lewinsky wrote in Vanity Fair.

Last week, a slimmed-down Lewinsky showed up in a black cocktail dress to mingle with English actor Clive Owen and Britain’s Princess Beatrice at a benefit in London for the charity Marie Curie Cancer Care, which helps people with terminal cancer. This is not the last we’ve heard of Monica Lewinsky.

What a shame.

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