American Crime Story Got Right

“Impeachment” is honest about the effect that the exposure of the affair had on Monica Lewinsky. The Season 3 premiere kicks off with the moment that Tripp and FBI agents confront Lewinsky at the Pentagon City Mall, after which Lewinsky is interrogated for 12 hours — and Lewinsky calls Tripp a “treacherous b—-” to her face.

The scandal completely upends Lewinsky’s life. She’s under so much media scrutiny that she can’t go out in public without a disguise, and she and her mother Marcia Lewis (Mira Sorvino) spend their days in Monica’s apartment watching the coverage, most of which is negative. Various people from Monica’s past come forward to disparage her publicly, like her former high school drama teacher with whom she had an affair. Perhaps worst of all, Kenneth Starr’s legal team, led by a young Brett Kavanaugh (Alan Starzinski), forces Monica to recount every sexual interaction she had with Clinton, in excruciating detail. Those details then become a major part of the Starr Report. 

At the time, the media very much did try to demonize Monica Lewinsky. Since then, she’s been candid about what it was like to have her private life exposed to the country. Most of the details from “Impeachment” are accurate, like the disguises, the devastating media coverage, and the 12-hour interview with the FBI — the “treacherous b—-” line is a verbatim quote.

Monica Lewinsky went through hell as a 24-year-old in 1998, and “Impeachment: American Crime Story” is very much on her side.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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