Monica Lewinsky's thong-flashing scene in 'Impeachment' is a re-creation of 'exactly what happened,' according to the showrunner

Clive Owen as Bill Clinton and Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky in episode 2 of \"Impeachment.\" Tina Thorpe/FX
Clive Owen as Bill Clinton and Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky in episode 2 of \"Impeachment.\" Tina Thorpe/FX  
  • "Impeachment" showrunner said the thong-flashing scene closely follows the incident in real life.

  • Sarah Burgess told Insider she worked with Monica Lewinsky to get the details right.

  • For the rest of the series, Burgess said she did her research and made "creative choices."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Impeachment: American Crime Story" lead writer and showrunner Sarah Burgess said that the thong-flashing scene in the series is "very tightly based" on what Monica Lewinsky told her took place in real life.

The latest season of the FX anthology follows the impeachment of Clinton (played by Clive Owen) and the fallout from his 18-month-long affair with the then-22-year-old Lewinsky (played by Beanie Feldstein).

The 10-part season also depicts a moment from November 1995 when Lewinsky reportedly flashed her thong at Clinton while the two were at the White House, shown in the latest episode that aired Tuesday.

Burgess told Insider that she worked very closely with Lewinsky (a producer on the season) to write the scene involving the older politician.

Burgess explained that the script for the second episode initially didn't have the thong-flashing scene. When Brad Simpson, the executive producer, reached out to Lewinsky for her thoughts on the script, the former White House employee told Simpson that the scene should be included. Simpson then brought Lewinsky's notes to Burgess.

"Then I - either in speaking to her or she wrote down a description of what occurred - and I really wrote in a script very tightly based on what she specifically described," Burgess told Insider about the infamous moment.

She added: "The Starr Report made a lot of events, sound extremely salacious - which, you know, it's sex. Of course, it is. At the same time, they made it sound more aggressive than it was. In speaking to her, I just made sure on my script page, it was really what she described because I wanted to get that right."

Lewinsky previously said in a Hollywood Reporter interview that leaving out the thong-flashing scene would be "unfair to the team and to the project because it would leave everybody vulnerable" to criticism.

Burgess told Insider that while writing the scripts for "Impeachment," she did her own research to "take in all the information" and then made "creative choices" for each character.

The thong-flashing scene was the only instance where she matched the script to what Lewinsky said took place.

Burgess said that her research for "Impeachment" involved reading 56 books, FBI and Department of Justice documents, and special counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation into the events surrounding Clinton's impeachment.

"A lot of the pandemic gave me time to read all of those very thoroughly," Burgess said.

She added: "There's never too much research for me. I just took in all of that and then made my writing decision based on which character I was focusing on."

"Impeachment: American Crime Story" airs Tuesdays on FX at 10 p.m. ET.


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