'Off limits'

Monica Lewinsky abruptly walks out of live interview after 1st question

Monica Lewinsky in New York. (Damon Winter/The New York Times)

In Israel making an appearance at a conference over the weekend, activist and advocate Monica Lewinksy abruptly walked out of an interview in front a live audience after taking issue with the very first question posed to her. Moments before, Lewinsky had stood on stage and delivered an emotional speech on the ups and downs of her faith over the years.

The offending question, perhaps not surprisingly, was about her relationship with former President Bill Clinton and came from Yonit Levi, a prominent journalist and TV anchor in Israel. Levi referenced a recent interview with NBC News in which Clinton was pressed on whether he’d ever personally apologized to Lewinsky over the fallout of the affair. The former president revealed he has not apologized personally to the former White House intern, but felt he has apologized publicly. “Do you still expect that apology — the personal apology?” Levi said.

“I’m so sorry, I’m not going to be able to do this,” Lewinsky said, abruptly standing up and placing the microphone she was holding on her seat. Levi put a hand on her shoulder as if to say don’t leave yet, but Lewinsky picked up some papers she had with her and walked off the set, a smattering of hushed applause coming from the audience. Levi, awkwardly followed Lewinsky off the stage, video from the event shows, as a buzz rippled through the live audience. Watch the moment below.

After the fact, Lewinsky took to Twitter to clear the air about “what happened.” According to Lewinsky, she and Levi had set some parameters for the interview topics and Levi had actually posed that exact question to her a day earlier. Lewinsky said she rejected it then and that Levi agreed it would be “off limits” and the interview would focus on the substance of her speech.

“When she asked me it on stage, with blatant disregard for our agreement, it became clear to me I had been misled,” she wrote on Twitter. “I left because it is more important than ever for women to stand up for themselves and not allow others to control their narrative.” She also apologized to the live audience for the unexpected outcome.

According to The Associated Press, the Israeli News Company, for whom Levi works, said it producers had done what it could to uphold the agreement reached with Lewinsky, but stood behind the question having been asked.

“The question asked was legitimate, worthy and respectful and in no way deviated from Ms. Lewinsky’s requests,” the company said in a statement. “We thank Ms. Lewinsky for her fascinating speech to the conference, respect her sensitivity and wish her all the best.”

Read the full story Haaretz

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