Bill Clinton stands by handling of Monica Lewinsky affair amidst #MeToo era

Bill Clinton stands by handling of Monica Lewinsky affair amidst #MeToo era
Photo credit: Getty/ file

Former US President Bill Clinton says the #MeToo movement hasn't changed his thinking about the affair he had with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

"I think I did the right thing," he said in an NBC Today interview, defending his handling of the scandal.

Mr Clinton was impeached in 1998 for lying to investigators when he denied the affair with the then 22-year-old, but was eventually acquitted and remained President.

He never apologised privately to Ms Lewinsky, and he stands by that today.

"I have never talked to her, but I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry," he said.

Ms Lewinsky was publicly vilified for the affair, and says she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the ordeal.

She said the #MeToo movement had helped her reflect on what she sees as "gross abuse of power".

"He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better," she wrote in an essay for Vanity Fair.

Mr Clinton defended his record when it comes to women's rights, saying he had a sexual harassment policy and two female chiefs of staff when he was a governor in the 1980s.

"Women were overrepresented in the Attorney-General's office in the '70s. I've had nothing but women leaders in my office since I left," he said.

Rose McGowan, one of the first women to speak out against Harvey Weinstein which sparked the #MeToo movement, slammed Mr Clinton on Twitter.

"Here is the truth of it: a human life was altered and destroyed due to your selfishness," she said.

"You actually owe everyone an apology, especially her."

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