Everyone has heard the story, but most of us have probably only heard one side of the story. President Bill Clinton was embroiled in an impeachment scandal after lying about his extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky. Now the story is coming from Monica’s side on FX’s new season of American Crime Story.
Was Bill Clinton consulted on 'American Crime Story'?
FX's popular show American Crime Story is coming back for a third season. This time it's tackling another high-profile story — the Bill Clinton impeachment. The story dates back to 1998 when the world got word of some scandalous details that don't usually encompass the president of the United States.
The story really got started when lawyers were investigating a sexual misconduct allegation from when President Clinton was still the governor of Arkansas. During that discovery phase, Monica Lewinsky's name came up when the lawyers were trying to find a pattern in his behavior.
And the rest is history. On Jan. 26, 1998, President Clinton spoke at a nationally televised White House conference. The phrase "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" was said, a phrase that would come back to haunt him for the rest of his life.
While the media and gossip sites were eating this up and taking hits at President Clinton, Monica was young and caught in the middle of it all. She was vilified and had to go into hiding after the negative public attention. And while President Clinton has been able to discuss more of his side of what really happened, Monica hasn't.
This is why it was so important for executive producer and writer Sarah Burgess and executive producer Ryan Murphy to get Monica's side. Especially so since the story arc centered on the women involved in the impeachment, including Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, and Linda Tripp.
Neither of the Clintons was consulted on the show. However, it was important for the showrunners to give Monica a voice. And Monica was mindful of only speaking to what she knew — she "did not want to speak for how the Clintons were portrayed," Entertainment Tonight reports.
"It was very important she retained her agency," producer Nina Jacobson said. "It's amazing to me how many older people still make casual Monica Lewinsky jokes. I hope the show changes people's minds."
"[We show] what happened and who was really at fault, who had the responsibility to be mature, who had the responsibility not to have an affair with an intern," Nina added. "There are going to be some people's minds we can't change. This is America."
Though the Clintons were not consulted, the producers did look at "the many, many, many, many books and documentaries and grand jury testimonies that were written" about what happened during the scandal. And that helped frame the story they told in the new season.
Impeachment: American Crime Story premieres on FX on Sept. 7, 2021, at 10 p.m. EST.