Dec 17th, 2002, 12:03 PM
Monica Lewinsky banned from Italian TV show
ROME, Dec. 16 — Italian television usually loves sex and scandal, but putting Monica Lewinsky on daytime TV on a Sunday close to Christmas was apparently too much for some.
So it was that the former White House intern, who hit the headlines in 1998 over her affair with former President Bill Clinton, came to Italy all dressed up for a TV party -- with no place to go.
Lewinsky was to have been the star guest on ''Domenica In'' (Sunday In), a talk show that goes on for about five hours and offers a mix of dancing, sport and interviews with everyone from priests to pop stars.
But some politicians were outraged that state-owned broadcaster RAI planned to pay Lewinsky's expenses using taxpayers' money for an interview on a Sunday.
Rome's leading newspaper, La Repubblica, dedicated two pages to the debate. Milan's Corriere della Sera ran four articles.
RAI president Antonio Baldassarre expressed concern and network executives yanked Lewinsky off the show late on Saturday. The move was applauded by Communications Minister Maurizio Gasparri.
Dec 17th, 2002, 12:51 PM
Poor Monica :p I used to follow that show 2 years ago btw, there are halfnude models everywhere, so i don't get why Miss Lewinsky couldn't attend, but who cares anyway, it was 4 years ago she was in the news.
Dec 17th, 2002, 01:16 PM
What's the source of this notice?
This isn't true. After some mins of interview at famous show "Porta a Porta" she left the studio cause she didn't want questions about relationship with Clinton (whereas the studio had her image with former Us president...)
Dec 17th, 2002, 01:18 PM
What's the source of this notice?
This is partially true. She had a contract for two interviews. One for "Domenica IN" (blocked for those reasons) and one for another "political" show.
After some mins of interview at famous show "Porta a Porta" she left the studio cause she didn't want questions about relationship with Clinton (whereas the studio had her image with former Us president...)
Dec 17th, 2002, 02:39 PM
Italian TV Says Arrevederci To Monica Lewinsky
State TV Says Lewinsky Is Too Spicy
POSTED: 12:19 p.m. EST December 16, 2002
ROME -- Monica Lewinsky has again found herself caught in a political storm, this time after Italy's state TV decided that a Sunday afternoon chat with her would be too spicy for families watching a popular variety show.
"What is it about me?" the former White House intern asked, with a wry laugh.
Lewinsky spoke with The Associated Press in her Rome hotel while Italian viewers were tuned in to the program she was supposed to be on, "Domenica In," a decades-old Sunday afternoon fixture on RAI, the nation's state broadcaster.
For days, Lewinsky, whose relationship with Bill Clinton triggered a perjury probe which almost ended his presidency, had been advertised as a special guest on the show.
But members of Premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservative coalition, including the communications minister, have been howling that -- given the scandal with Clinton -- her appearance during family-viewing time would be inappropriate.
While touted as family fare, the show's standard format includes a glamorous woman as the host and a backdrop of often scantily clad young women prancing across the stage in musical numbers.
Finally, it was announced Saturday that Lewinsky was off the show.
Her dark hair divided in two long braids, each decorated with a red fabric flower, Lewinsky, 29, said Sunday she had hoped to tell viewers about how the White House scandal turned out to be for her "an experience of strength," how it affected her family -- and about what she is doing now, designing handbags.
"It is a family show and it would have been fine for me to have been on the show. I have a family and what happened to me also affected them," she said. "I am someone's daughter and someone's sister."
Lewinsky's publicist, Barbara Hutson, accused the communications minister, RAI executives and "influential members of the church and state" of acting like "judge and jury."
Lewinsky apparently didn't know she was entering a beehive of nasty politics: Italian state broadcasting.
Critics have accused Berlusconi's government of imposing its conservative ideology on the station. Berlusconi is owner of Italy's three major private networks and, as premier, also has ultimate control of the three state TV networks. Three of the five RAI board members resigned several weeks ago, saying they were frustrated by conservatives' domination, and venomous accusations have been traded over administration of the stations.
After Lewinsky was told that the "Domenica In" appearance was scrapped, journalist Bruno Vespa invited her to appear on his late-night talk show, "Porta a Porta" (Door to Door), also on RAI.
"Porta a Porta" gets more raucous than the daytime fare: One show a few years ago ended in a scuffle between a Communist minister and a lawmaker who is the granddaughter of Benito Mussolini, the late fascist dictator.
When Lewinsky showed up Saturday to tape Vespa's show, she quickly walked out.
Hutson said her client was hastily shown a three-page legal contract in Italian to be signed and that they refused because they hadn't time to properly understand it.
"Porta a Porta" gave a different version.
"Monica Lewinsky entered the (studio) room and saw of picture of her and one of Clinton on the wall," said Lilli Fabiani of the show's press office. "As a result she canceled the interview. She walked out."
RAI's director-general, Agostino Sacca, defended the decision to book Lewinsky for "Domenica In."
"I would have liked a serious, clean interview of this woman," Sacca said told Rome daily La Repubblica. "She is a girl who was crushed by the mechanisms of power, like thousands of other girls in the world."
Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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