Monica Lewinsky says that she had to convince a hesitant creator of Impeachment: American Crime Story to insert a scene where she flashes her thong at former President Bill Clinton.
The upcoming season of the FX series recounts Clinton’s (Clive Owen) impeachment and the tremendous scrutiny that Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), then 24 years old, endured once the public learned of her 18-month affair with him.
FX network gave the season a thumbs up in 2019, and Lewinsky stepped on as a producer.
The 10-episode season also portrays some of the events that led up to Clinton’s impeachment, including a scene from November 1995 in which Lewinsky allegedly flashed her thong straps at Clinton as the two were attending a White House social gathering.
In a new report from The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, writer Sarah Burgess said she had pause over whether or not to include the famed thong-flashing moment in “Impeachment” because she was afraid of “retraumatising Monica.”
Lewinsky, on the other hand, disagreed and requested Burgess to keep the sequence in the script, claiming that if the critical conversation between Clinton and the former White House intern wasn’t depicted on screen, Lewinsky would be blamed for the absence.
“Listen, I would’ve loved to have been really selfish and said, ‘That’s great that you guys think we don’t have to show that, fantastic,’ but I’m incredibly experienced in understanding how people see this story,” Lewinsky told The Hollywood Reporter.
Lewinsky also added that she “shouldn’t get a pass” because she is a producer and that it would be “unfair” to get rid of the thong flashing moment as it would leave “everybody vulnerable” to criticism.
Watching Feldstein, Owen, and other Crime Story actors portray her affair with Clinton and his ensuing impeachment, Lewinsky added, “is incredibly hard.” During production, a therapist kept her company by giving notes and suggestions on scripts via Zoom, so she didn’t feel utterly alone.
Burgess and executive producer Brad Simpson had Lewinsky examine the script for each episode, according to Feldstein, who spoke at a virtual Television Critics Association session on Friday. Simpson and Burgess gave Feldstein the scripts after Lewinsky gave them her “feedback.”
Feldstein noted that she knew “every word” that she said in her portrayal was greenlit and “had been to Monica first.”
“I was sure that everything in there was something she felt comfortable with, something she believed was true to her life and represented her,” she said.
On September 7, Impeachment: American Crime Story is set to air on FX.