Monica Lewinsky has nothing but sympathy for Britney Spears.
The former White House intern who became the impetus for former President Bill Clinton‘s impeachment feels that while the media treated her and Britney similarly, they were maligned for very different reasons. But she tells InStyle that perceptions of famous women have “moved forward” since the 90s and early aughts.
“I think it’s long overdue and wonderful to see it happening for different women in different arenas and scenarios,” Lewinsky explained. “I made a mistake. Britney didn’t.”
Lewinsky also recalled running into Britney “in the early 2000s” at the New York City department store Henri Bendel.
“She was with Justin Timberlake,” she reflected. “I had my handbag company at the time, and she said she thought the bags were cute. I was beside myself, so I got her some. But at that time I wasn’t able to have the perspective to recognize, ‘Oh, this is happening to other women."”
She continued, “When the fat-shaming happened to Jessica Simpson [in 2009], I thought, ‘Oh, O.K. This didn’t just happen to me. This is happening now to other people, too."”
Lewinsky, who’s played by actress Beanie Feldstein in the forthcoming FX series Impeachment: American Crime Story, discussed America’s growing awareness about how she says the media mistreated her, which has led to many apologies.
“There were other young women this happened to, and there’s an enormous amount of collateral damage. So I think it’s not just an apology to a person; it’s an apology to how you’ve affected a culture,” Lewinsky said.
“It’s not surprising that this de-objectifying of women is happening alongside the #MeToo movement,” she added. “They braid together in a way that makes sense.”
Impeachment: American Crime Story premieres September 7 on FX.
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