Until all the current scandals play out and Donald Trump is either executed for treason or abolishes term limits and starts wearing a five star general’s uniform everywhere, Monica Lewinsky is synonymous with the most consequential domestic political scandal a US president has faced in the past 30 years.

For every scandal that’s followed, this is the only one (for now) that actually lead to congress issuing articles of impeachment against the president.

The woman at the centre of the storm, now an anti-bullying campaigner, has been in Australia over the past few days giving talks — at Broadside in Melbourne and the UNSW Centre for Ideas in Sydney — for which she’s rumoured to have been paid a total of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the speeches she discussed … well, we’re not exactly sure.

Crikey tried to get a media pass to the Melbourne event and were told it was closed to the press. A tipster who was there said the talk was “amazing”, but that note taking, photography and asking questions was prohibited.

So imagine our annoyance when we saw one of our rivals had reported on the Sydney event, including direct quotes from the speech. We got in touch to ask “what gives?”, and the centre told us Sydney was every bit as “off the record” as Melbourne.

“The event was open to the public and was an ‘off the record’ conversation with no audience or media recording or photography permitted. Although many members of the media were present, the vast majority of them respected these requests,” said a spokesperson. “Regrettably some of the content of Monica Lewinsky’s presentation was quoted. We respectfully request that online discussion of this matter is concluded, to spare Ms Lewinsky from further unnecessary attention.”

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While no one would deny Lewinsky was treated abysmally by the media, who happily gobbled up and repeated slanders against her spread by Bill Clinton’s office, we can’t help feel like a “centre for ideas” shouldn’t be keeping those ideas completely secret?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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