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Monica Lewinsky reveals why she got involved in new TV drama about Clinton scandal

The next season of "American Crime Story" will focus on the 1998 impeachment of former President Bill Clinton and the scandal at the heart of it.
Monica Lewinsky explains why she's speaking out about Clinton
Monica Lewinsky explains why she took on a production role on the upcoming season of "American Crime Story."Getty Image
/ Source: TODAY

Ryan Murphy's riveting anthology series "American Crime Story" will return to the small screen next year and tackle yet another topic that once had the nation talking.

For season three, the subject matter is the 1998 impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton.

Of course, there's no way to dramatically retell that story without covering the sex scandal at the heart of the historical event, and Murphy found the perfect consultant and producer to help with that task in former White House intern and current anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky.

News of "Impeachment: American Crime Story" broke during the FX Network's TCA session Tuesday, and soon after, Lewinsky opened up about why she decided to get involved with the project that puts her own past in the spotlight again.

"I was hesitant, and truthfully more than a little scared to sign on," the 46-year-old explained in a statement to Vanity Fair. "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."

Lewinsky noted that others "have been co-opting and telling" her part in the scandal that almost brought down a presidency "for decades," and that she welcomes the chance to again "fully reclaim (her) narrative."

"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," she continued. 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."

Murphy spoke about approaching Lewinsky to work on the series last year in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

"I told her, 'Nobody should tell your story but you, and it's kind of gross if they do,'" he said at the time. "'If you want to produce it with me, I would love that; but you should be the producer and you should make all the god---- money.'"

Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and her attorney William Ginsburg in 1998.
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and her attorney William Ginsburg in 1998.Dan Loh / AP

Lewinsky's part in the production wasn't the only detail about the upcoming season that came out during TCA. Some of the stars who'll play the familiar faces who were embroiled in the original events have also been revealed.

Beanie Feldstein will play Lewinsky and Sarah Paulson will take on the part of former civil servant Linda Tripp, who's best known for recording private conversations with Lewinsky relating to her relationship with the president.

There's no word yet about who'll star as the former president or former First Lady and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

William J. Clinton;Monica Lewinsky [Misc.]
President Bill Clinton addressing reporters about the Monica Lewinsky scandal on January 26, 1998.Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

"FX’s 'American Crime Story' franchise has become a cultural touchstone, providing greater context for stories that deserve greater understanding, like the O.J. Simpson trial and saga, and Andrew Cunanan’s tragic crime spree which concluded with the assassination of Gianni Versace," FX Networks and Productions chairman John Landgraf said during the TCA panel. "This franchise re-examines some of the most complicated, polarizing stories in recent history in a way that is relevant, nuanced and entertaining."

"Impeachment: American Crime Story" is set to premiere Sept. 27, 2020.