The Real Reason Monica Lewinsky Cut Off Her Interview With an Israeli News Anchor

Lewinsky claimed she agreed with the Israel Television News Company that Bill Clinton questions were 'off limits'. The Company denied such an agreement had existed

Itay Stern
Itay Stern
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File Photo: Monica Lewinsky, February 26, 2017.
File Photo: Monica Lewinsky, February 26, 2017.Credit: DANNY MOLOSHOK/Reuters
Itay Stern
Itay Stern

Monica Lewinsky made headlines in recent days after she dramatically cut off an interview with Israeli news anchor Yonit Levi after being asked whether she expected a personal apology from former United States President Bill Clinton.

Lewinsky claimed she agreed with the Israel Television News Company (formerly Channel 2 News) that Clinton questions were 'off limits'. The Israel Television News Company however denied such an agreement had existed.

On Wednesday, however, Hollywood Reporter published on its website that Lewinsky was slated to disclose the details of the Clinton incident in a new documentary series titled "The Impeachment of Bill Clinton," where she is expected to reveal all the untold details, stressing the feminist angle.

Lewinsky tweeted that there were "clear parameters about what we would be discussing and what not." She added: "I left because it is more important than ever for women to stand up for themselves and not allow others to control their narrative." Lewinsky's tweet garnered tens of thousands of likes Levi was heavily criticized on social media for supposedly breaking the agreement.

The editor of the News Company's flagship news program, Guy Sudri, tweeted Wednesday: "Now we can say: Monica Lewinsky told Yonit in a preparatory conversation that she will soon announce a big project where she'll disclose the entire incident, and that she therefore won't be able to discuss it at length in the interview. She asked Yonit not to publicize the news first. This was one of the reasons we have not responded to the accusations earlier. In short, we upheld all our agreements."

Sudri added: "Needless to say, there was no agreement that the question that Yonit asked could not be asked."

Screen capture from Yonit Levi interview with Monica Lewinsky, September 3, 2018.Credit: Haaretz

The News Company denied Monday they had violated any agreement with Lewinsky saying that "the news company made sure to meet all the agreements with Monica Lewinsky and honor all of her requests."

The incident was extensively covered in the media in Israel and around the world. CNN, for example, published an opinion column in which Lewinsky's walkoff was justified. Other news sites, such as Vogue, Business Insider and the Daily Mail also covered the story.

Members of the News Company defended Levi, even before the news of Lewinsky's commitment to the documentary series came out. Niv Raskin, a colleague of Levi, said on the network's morning news: "Is her honor [Lewinsky] a graduate of the Weizmann Institute of Science? Did she come to talk about the nuclear program? She came to talk about something that happened to her 20 years ago and that she made money off."

The political correspondent of the News Company, Daphna Liel, tweeted: "To ask Lewinsky's opinion about Clinton's conduct is not a hurtful question, but an opportunity to convey a message to everyone who thinks that a public apology is sufficient. Yonit did not violate any agreement, she asked an important question and she asked it out of respect for a woman who went through what she has and has taken all the garbage thrown at her. Not many people would have done that."

Zion Nanus, a colleague of Levi's, tweeted: "I have known Yonit Levi for more than two decades, and she is one of the most honest, credible and honest journalists and people that exist. There is no chance she would have broken an early agreement with an interviewee." Amit Segal, the political analyst for the news company, added that "I do not know Monica Lewinsky, but I know Yonit Levi, so it is clear to me that there was no agreement that was broken."

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