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Monica Lewinsky Reclaims Her Narrative, Will Produce Impeachment: American Crime Story

Beanie Feldstein will play Lewinsky in the third season of the Ryan Murphy series.

Monica Lewinsky talks to John Oliver

FX has announced that the third season of American Crime Story will focus on the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal that led to the President’s impeachment trial. The new season, subtitled Impeachment, will star Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) as Lewinsky, Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp, and Annaleigh Ashford (Masters of Sex) as Paula Jones. The Clintons have yet to be cast.

The season will be based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book, A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. Toobin also wrote The Run of His Life : the People v. O.J. Simpson, which was adapted for the first season of the anthology series. The series will be written by playwright Sarah Burgess (Dry Powder). Ryan Murphy will be be producing the series, but it’s his fellow producer that is garnering the most news: none other than Monica Lewinsky herself.

Murphy, who has optioned the book last year, brought Lewinsky on board after meeting her at a party. Murphy said, “I told her, ‘Nobody should tell your story but you, and it’s kind of gross if they do,'” Murphy recalls saying. ” ‘If you want to produce it with me, I would love that; but you should be the producer and you should make all the goddamn money.'”

When the Lewinsky affair scandal broke in 1995, the world was quick to attack and mock the 23 year old White House intern, turning her into a celebrity punching bag for late night comics and anyone with a microphone. Since her vitriolic public shaming, public opinion has shifted, as the Me Too Movement has entered the mainstream and the way we view sexual harassment has changed.

Lewinsky herself has become an advocate against cyber-bullying and public shaming, delivering a TED Talk on the subject that has garnered over 15 million views.

In an exclusive statement to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky discussed the project, saying:

“I was hesitant, and truthfully more than a little scared to sign on. But after a lengthy dinner meeting with Ryan, I came to understand even more clearly how dedicated he is to giving a voice to the marginalized in all of his brilliant work. I’m privileged to work with him and the other talented people on the team, and I’m privileged to have this opportunity.

People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades. In fact, it wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve been able to fully reclaim my narrative; almost 20 years later.

But I’m so grateful for the growth we’ve made as a society that allows people like me who have been historically silenced to finally reintroduce my voice to the conversation. This isn’t just a me problem. Powerful people, often men, take advantage of those subordinate to them in myriad ways all the time. Many people will see this as such a story and for that reason, this narrative is one that is, regretfully, evergreen.”

Lewinsky’s story is a defining moment of the 1990s, and at long last she gets to control her narrative and tell her story to a world that may finally be ready to listen. If anyone deserves to reclaim her history, it’s the most bullied woman in American history. FX CEO John Landgraf said of the series, “Impeachment: American Crime Story will likewise explore the overlooked dimensions of the women who found themselves caught up in the scandal and political war that cast a long shadow over the Clinton presidency.”

Impeachment: American Crime Story is set to premiere on FX in September 2020.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: HBO/screencap)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.