WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — David Letterman regrets the way he treated Monica Lewinsky throughout the years over her affair with then President Bill Clinton while she was a White House intern.
With retiring ABC News’ Barbara Walters as his guest on his CBS show Wednesday night, “The Late Show” host said he started to feel bad about the role he played taking shots at Lewinsky after she penned a story for Vanity Fair opening up about the affair and the troubles she had finding a job.
“Now I started to feel bad because myself and other people with shows like this made relentless jokes about the poor woman and she was a kid. She was 21, 22,” Letterman said, adding that it was a “sad human situation.”
Letterman continued: “I feel bad about my role in helping push the humiliation to the point of suffocation.”
Walters said it was time to “turn the page” on Lewinsky.
“She has been ridiculed now for all these years and she is an intelligent woman,” Walters told Letterman. “I wish her well.”
Lewinsky wrote in the Vanity Fair issue that she deeply regretted the affair she had with Clinton in 1998 while she was an intern at the White House.
“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” Lewinsky wrote. “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
Lewinsky stated that Clinton did take advantage of her, but that it was a consensual relationship.
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, 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,” Lewinsky wrote. “The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
Lewinsky testified before independent counsel Ken Starr about the affair in August 1998 for a report that was released to the House Judiciary Committee in September 1998. The House of Representatives impeached Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice in December 1998.
The 40-year-old Lewinsky decided to open up about the affair 16 years later after the suicide of 18-year-old Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, who jumped to his death after he was secretly filmed kissing another man. Lewinsky said that incident led her mother to relive everything that happened in 1998.
“She was reliving 1998, when she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because I, too, was suicidal. The shame, the scorn, and the fear that had been thrown at her daughter left her afraid that I would take my own life—a fear that I would be literally humiliated to death,” Lewinsky wrote, adding that she did not attempt to take her own life.
Lewinsky continued: “My own suffering took on a different meaning. 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 also blamed the Drudge Report for causing her “global humiliation.”
“Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,” she wrote.
Lewinsky currently wants “to get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”
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