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Lewinsky is a producer on the third season of the anthology series, which dramatises Bill Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky, the ensuing investigation, and his eventual impeachment by the House of Representatives.
Writer Sarah Burgess, who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter along with Lewinsky, explained how she wanted to make sure to treat Lewinsky fairly.
One precaution originally taken by Burgess was not to portray an infamous excerpt from the Starr Report (the result of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation into Clinton), which reads: “At one point, Ms Lewinsky and the President talked alone in the Chief of Staff’s office. In the course of flirting with him, she raised her jacket in the back and showed him the straps of her thong underwear, which extended above her pants.”
Burgess told The Hollywood Reporter she didn’t want to include the scene in order to avoid “retraumatising Monica”.
Lewinsky, however, told the publication that while she appreciated Burgess’s thoughtfulness, she eventually advocated for the moment to be added.
“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,” she said.
“So, ultimately, I felt two things: One was that I shouldn’t get a pass because I’m a producer; and two, that it was unfair to the team and to the project because it would leave everybody vulnerable.”
Lewinsky also noted that she thought she would be blamed if the scene were not included.
Impeachment: American Crime Story airs on FX on 7 September in the US. A UK air date has yet to be confirmed, but the show’s first two seasons were broadcast on BBC Two shortly after airing in the US.