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
The Impeachment showrunner said the thong flash scene followed the incident in real life.
Sarah Burgess told Insider she worked with Monica Lewinsky to get the details right.
For the remainder of the series, Burgess said she did her research and made "creative decisions".
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Impeachment: American Crime Story lead writer and showrunner Sarah Burgess said the thong flash scene on the show was "very closely" based on what Monica Lewinsky told her happened in real life.
The latest season of the FX anthology follows the impeachment of Clinton (played by Clive Owen) and the aftermath of his 18-month affair with the then 22-year-old Lewinsky (played by Beanie Feldstein).
The ten-part season also features a moment from November 1995 when Lewinsky reportedly flashed her thong at Clinton while the two were at the White House, featured in the latest episode, which aired Tuesday.
Burgess told Insider that she worked very closely with Lewinsky (a producer on the season) to write the scene with the senior politician.
Burgess stated that the script for the second episode did not initially have a thong flash scene. When executive producer Brad Simpson asked Lewinsky for her thoughts on the script, the former White House employee told Simpson that the scene should be taped. Simpson then brought Lewinsky's notes to Burgess.
"Then I - either talking to her or she has a description of what happened - and I really wrote a script based very closely on what she specifically described," Burgess told Insider of the infamous moment .
She added, “The Starr Report made a lot of events that sound extremely suggestive - which, you know, sex is. Of course it is. At the same time, they made it sound more aggressive than it was, I just made sure on my scripting page that it was really what it was describing because I wanted to get it right. "
Lewinsky previously said in a Hollywood reporter interview that leaving out the thong flash scene "would be unfair to the team and the project because it would leave everyone 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 flash scene was the only time the script matched what Lewinsky said.
Burgess said her research on "impeachment" included 56 books, FBI and Justice Department documents, and Special Counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation into the events surrounding Clinton's impeachment.
"Much of the pandemic has given me time to read all of these carefully," Burgess said.
She added, "There's never too much research for me. I just recorded it all and then made my writing decision based on which character I was focusing on."
"Impeachment: American Crime Story" airs Tuesdays at 10pm on FX. ET.
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