Monica Lewinsky wants to take down the shame game.
HBO Max has picked up the documentary “15 Minutes of Shame” from executive producers Max Joseph (MTV’s “Catfish” series) and Lewinsky, the former White House intern whose hookups with President Bill Clinton cast a lifelong shadow over her reputation and led to his impeachment. The documentary will zero in on the “public shaming epidemic in our culture and explore our collective need to destroy one another,” according to an HBO press release.
Lewinsky will appear in the documentary, which will feature “well known, bold-faced names and is a timely, irreverent roller-coaster ride through the world of public shaming,” said HBO. It will look at individuals who have been publicly shamed with input from “bullies” and “bystanders,” the media, psychologists, politicians and experts.
“Monica Lewinsky is an anti-bullying activist with unparalleled authority, making her the perfect partner for this project,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max. “And Max’s strong advocacy for social justice and distinctive storytelling make him particularly well-suited to explore this complex modern phenomenon.”
In a 2015 TED Talk called “The Price of Shame,” which has been viewed more than 16 million times, Lewinsky declared: “I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.”
Since the scandal and Clinton’s 1998 impeachment, Lewinsky has been hounded by the memory of what happened — and is oft-remembered for owning a certain blue dress. But she has also cooperated on a biography (“Monica’s Story”), landed a 1999 cameo on “Saturday Night Live,” tried her hand at selling a line of handbags, was a spokesperson for the Jenny Craig diet line and even hosted a reality dating show. She’s also become an opponent of cyber-bullying and earlier this year was interviewed for a segment on the incivility of late-night TV hosts on “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”