Vanity Fair’s May issue will not hit newsstands until May 8, but the publication released excerpts from an exclusive essay Monica Lewinsky penned for the magazine. Titled “Shame and Survival,” Lewinsky speaks openly about her affair with former President Bill Clinton writing, “It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress.” On radio this morning, Glenn actually found himself sympathetic to some of the pain Lewinsky describes in the piece.
“So yesterday I was riding home and I'm reading ‘Shame and Survival’ and this is the Vanity Fair portrait of Monica Lewinsky. And when you think of Monica Lewinsky, what do you think of? You think of the blue dress. But after reading this article, the one thing I had not thought of her as… was, you know, a girl and not a victim.”
In the essay, Lewinsky reiterates that while she “deeply regrets” what happened, she was not a victim.
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me,” Lewinsky writes, “but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.”
In the essay, Lewinsky writes about her struggle to find work all these years later and she says she “turned down offers that would have earned [her] more than $10 million, because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”
She chose to go public with her side of the story after hearing about the death of 18-year-old Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide in 2010 after he was secretly filmed kissing another man.
“My own suffering took on a different meaning,” Lewinsky writes. “Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past?”
Lewinsky said she hopes to start speaking more publically about her past in an effort to help “victims of online humiliation and harassment.”
“I would like to offer her a public forum – not because of who she is but because I agree. The harassment online and the humiliation that those in power can do is awesome in its nature. I've never seen anything like it,” Glenn said. “Her story is the problem with who we are today. Somebody did wrong, and then instead of taking responsibility, they shifted the blame to everyone – including the person that they supposedly were happy with… They would throw anybody under the bus.”
Glenn remembers being on the air when all of this came out, and while he definitely cracked a few jokes at Lewinsky’s expense, he hopes he didn’t add too much fuel to the fire.
“I read this article last night. I was really touched by it. I really was. And I thought, you know, I'm sorry for any role I might have played in any of this,” Glenn said. “I remember doing monologues and going, ‘This is your daughter. You sent her to Washington, D.C. to intern at the White House. How would you feel as a dad? Think of her as your daughter.’ So I know that I was making that case at the time. But I know I also carried my fair share of stuff.”
Ultimately, Lewinsky’s article has caused Glenn to revaluate his personal view of the situation and the way it has been handled through the years.
“All she becomes is a blue dress and a beret joke and a political footnote… She's 40. Think of that, and how much time has gone by. We've all gone on with our lives. She didn't have one to go on to,” Glenn concluded. “The initial act was her choice. But she was saying that she didn't come out and say anything because she didn't think that it was right to… Isn't that something that we would always salute? It's somebody who did not cash in… I have respect for the way she did it.”
Read the entire Vanity Fair preview HERE.