Why Is TV Suddenly Dropping All Of Its Monica Lewinsky Content?

Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic.
Not a day after Ryan Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter that he's hit pause on plans for a Monica Lewinsky-inspired American Crime Story, another retelling of the 1998 scandal involving then-President Bill Clinton has been scrapped. In September the History Channel announced plans for a six-part drama based on journalist Peter Baker's book, The Breach. However, The Washington Post reached out on Wednesday to find that it had been abandoned.
"We made a decision not to move forward on that," a rep told the outlet, saying that they were instead planning a "docuseries."
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It's unknown why the project was shelved, but in Murphy's case, the reasons were sentimental.
"I told [Monica Lewinsky], 'Nobody should tell your story but you, and it's kind of gross if they do," he told THR. "'If you want to produce it with me, I would love that; but you should be the producer and you should make all the goddamn money.'"
These two reversals also come after Lewinsky penned an essay for Vanity Fair about her experience recovering from the scandal, which has new significance in this post-#MeToo world, where victims of sexual harassment and abuse have come forward in waves after the initial accusations against producer Harvey Weinstein.
"I was diagnosed several years ago with post-traumatic stress disorder, mainly from the ordeal of having been publicly outed and ostracized back then. My trauma expedition has been long, arduous, painful, and expensive. And it’s not over," Lewinsky wrote, adding, "For two dec­ades, I have been working on myself, my trauma, and my healing. And, naturally, I have grappled with the rest of the world’s interpretations and Bill Clinton’s re-interpretations of what happened. But in truth, I have done this at arm’s length. There have been so many barriers to this place of self-reckoning."
It could be for this reason that networks have backed off of retelling the story, at least for now. Twenty years later, there's still more reflection to be done on the scandal, and the way Lewinsky was treated then versus how the same situation would be treated now. In the meantime, while Lewinsky declined to comment on the two shows, she's already given us plenty of her own words about that time in her life, and if the last few months have proved anything, it's time to listen.
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