Monica Lewinsky and Jake Tapper delved into their date, which happened shortly before her affair with then-president Bill Clinton became a global headline.
Monica appeared on Jake's show, The Lead with Jake Tapper, and he spoke with the anti-bullying activist about the date they had shared way back in 1997. The date, which happened shortly before Monica's affair with the president became public knowledge, featured in the latest episode of Impeachment: American Crime Story.
During her appearance on the show, Jake began, "First of all, Monica: Yes, I have to disclose—full disclosure—in tonight's episode, our G-rated date from December 1997 ... is portrayed."
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Monica, who was involved in the making of the FX show, chuckled at that comment. She then listened as the CNN anchor referred to the actor playing him in the role, Chris Riggi, suggesting that the casting was perhaps a little too flattering. Jake said he's, "way better looking than me now or then."
She was quick to disagree with the host, who famously wrote about his first and only date with Monica in a piece for the Washington City Paper (opens in new tab). This was shortly after news of the Clinton scandal broke back in January 1998. This article fast-tracked his career and, arguably, was a significant life-changing piece for him.
In the piece, he detailed how they met, their date, why it came to nothing, and most importantly in defense of the young woman who was only in her early twenties at the time. This was at the height of a press campaign that tore her reputation to shreds.
He said, "I also want to point out that behind this particular bimbo eruption sits a young woman who is not a bimbo."
"Who is a fairly sensible sort from what I saw, who was never going to be the one holding a press conference alongside a posterboard blowup of the Star with a back pocket full of the cash she got from selling out," Jake said. "She may be guilty of poor judgment, but she never asked for this."
Jake also said in the piece the reason they never had a second date was owing to busy schedules. "I don't expect to see Monica again," he wrote. "To be honest, I'm not sure I would have seen her even if she hadn't ended up buried beneath the headlines."
This piece was written years before the need to reframe her story became a more mainstream belief.
Monica said, "I think what's really important to remember in today's world is that we never should've even gotten to a place where consent was a question." Addressing that her consensual relationship with the then-president was, "wholly inappropriate." Both in relation to him being 27 years her senior and, "the most powerful man" as president of the United States.
"I think that the power differentials there are something I couldn't ever fathom consequences at 22 that I understand, obviously, so differently at 48," she said.
Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.
She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.
Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.
Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.
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