How Monica Lewinsky And Amanda Knox Formed An Unlikely Friendship

As two of the most infamous and vilified women in recent history, they certainly have a lot in common. Now, they've joined forces.

Monica Lewinsky and Amanda knox Alessia Pierdomenico, Kathy Hutchins | Shutterstock, dariolopresti | Canva

Few women have become so instantaneously infamous and vilified as Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s, but the 2000s had a female figure who came pretty darn close: convicted, and now exonerated, murderer Amanda Knox. Now, the two have formed an unlikely alliance, and are working toward a moment of redemption for Knox that Lewinsky has only recently, nearly 30 years later, begun to be granted.

Monica Lewinsky and Amana Knox formed an unlikely friendship while working on a TV adaptation of Knox's story.

Lewinsky is of course a perfect choice to help Knox helm the telling of her story — she helped produce 2021s "Impeachment: American Crime Story," the Ryan Murphy-helmed adaptation of the scandal that unfolded when her affair with former President Bill Clinton was revealed in 1998. But it was far more than Lewinsky's TV chops that made her a perfect partner for Knox.


Knox's upcoming Hulu drama series will explore the murder of Meredith Kercher, Knox's British exchange student roommate, in Perugia, Italy in 2007. Knox was accused of the murder, tried and convicted in the Italian legal system in 2009, and spent nearly four years in an Italian prison before being acquitted in a second trial in 2011, reconvicted in 2013, and finally fully exonerated in 2015. 

That alone is a circus in and of itself, but along the way, her case and the international media uproar it spawned bore some striking resemblances to the way Lewinsky was vilified in the 90s and early 2000s. 


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Lewinsky has said she was attracted to Knox's Hulu series because it centers on 'another young woman who found her life ripped apart'.

When news broke of Lewinsky's affair with Bill Clinton, she was immediately made a pariah, mercilessly mocked and vilified as wanton, despite the fact that she was just 22 at the time the affair began and, more importantly, a lowly intern in the White House. As compared to Clinton, who was, you know, the most powerful man in the world. 

The Lewinsky scandal has been re-examined in recent years as a story of Clinton's, and the media's, sordid and egregious lapses of judgment and abuses of power. And Lewinsky herself has come to be regarded as what she has called "patient zero" of the new internet-based era of shaming and ridicule that emerged alongside her scandal.

But these issues were never seriously considered in any mainstream way at the time, and the blowback of being branded an immoral traitor to her country followed Lewinsky for years. She has since candidly discussed the ways it ruined her life — not to mention nearly ended it — most notably in a 2015 TED Talk.


Knox's story is all too similar. The Italian prosecutors in Kercher's murder case quickly spun it into a sordid story about Knox's sex life, accusing her and her boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito of killing Kercher as part of a wild game of seduction gone wrong. Never mind that the story didn't quite add up, or that the intricacies of the Italian justice system — wholly different from America's own, most notably in its lack of an "innocent until proven guilty" approach — only served to aid and abet the salaciousness of the story. 

Knox was tried and convicted in the court of public opinion long before a verdict was found, and, like Lewinsky, branded a diabolical and promiscuous woman guilty of a crime of passion. She was also, like Lewinsky, made a public punching bag and laughingstock in the media, and many to this day still believe she is guilty — despite burglar Rudy Guede ultimately being convicted of Kercher's murder.

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Knox and Lewinsky are said to have become 'very close' and both share post-scandal careers focused on changing the way women are treated in the media.

In a recent appearance on "TODAY," Lewinsky teased her involvement in Knox's forthcoming Hulu project by addressing the similar ways Knox was torn to shreds in the media during the scandal that erupted around Kercher's murder.

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"I’m executive producing a series on another young woman who found her life ripped apart on the world stage, but she somehow managed to survive," Lewinsky told the show's hosts. "I think it’s going to be really powerful and hopefully they will announce it soon."


According to a source who spoke to The Daily Mail, the project has led to an intimate bond between the two women. "Monica and Amanda have become very close and are in touch almost constantly," the source said. "They find that they have a lot in common, and support each other." And it turns out, they both have similar post-scandal lives in common, too.

Lewinsky has turned her harrowing experience with Clinton, which she has said gave her PTSD, into a writing, speaking and non-profit career focused on addressing issues like bullying, especially online bullying, mental health, sexual harassment and assault, and sexism.



Likewise, Knox has focused her second act on the explicitly gendered nature of our country's media discourse and obsession with public ridicule. In 2018, she began hosting the show "The Scarlet Letter Reports," which focuses on sexism in media, and the podcast "The Truth About True Crime," focusing on the genre her own case helped popularize. And she has somehow managed to maintain a sense of humor about everything that happened to her in the process. 




Their partnership is sure to give Knox's Hulu series, which she reportedly also wrote, a level of gravitas and sensitivity that arguably only they could provide.

It's a shame that it's misogyny and unsolicited infamy that brought them together, but our culture is sure to benefit from their friendship regardless. Who better, after all, to take on America's obsession with vilifying women than the two who arguably know it best?


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.