That controversial Bill Clinton portrait was thrown in storage (but not for the reasons you'd think)

A representative from the National Gallery of Art explained that the portrait hasn't been on display for a while

Published March 4, 2015 10:56PM (EST)

Monica Lewinsky      (AP/Star Shooter)
Monica Lewinsky (AP/Star Shooter)

The controversial Bill Clinton portrait with the secret etching of Monica Lewinsky's dress is currently sitting in a storage unit. And no -- not because of the media storm that's enveloped it in the last week.

Bethany Bentley, head of communications at the gallery at the National Gallery of Art, told the Hollywood Reporter Wednesday that the painting actually hasn't been on display to the public since 2009.

She went on to explain that the portrait is just one of 10 Bill Clinton portraits the Gallery of Art has on hand and that it was simply rotated out, no external pressure to remove it whatsoever.

Bentley also said she learned about the painter Nelson Shanks' hidden reference this week following the Philadelphia Daily News interview.

Meanwhile -- as weird stories like these force us to recall a time when the 24-yeard-old intern was nothing but a "blue dress" -- Lewinsky is actively trying to reclaim her narrative.

After taking a long absence from the public stage, Monica Lewinsky is making it her mission post-Clinton scandal to end cyberbullying once and for all. Later this month, that'll mean drawing upon her own experiences as a subject of online ridicule to give her very own TED Talk.

The speech will be part of TED's "Truth and Dare" series in Vancouver, Canada and will air March 19. Lewinsky's material will revolve around issues of Internet safety and bullying, much in the same vein as her tearful 30 Under 30 Forbes Speech in Philadelphia she gave in October 2014.

While speaking about how Internet-induced shame trickled into her life, she said:

“Staring at the computer screen, I spent the day shouting: ‘oh my god!’ and ‘I can’t believe they put that in’ or 'That’s so out of context.' And those were the only thoughts that interrupted a relentless mantra in my head: ‘I want to die.’”

According to Monica Lewinsky's TED bio, she "advocates for a safer and more compassionate social media environment."

Here's the full listing below:

Monica Lewinsky advocates for a safer and more compassionate social media environment, drawing from her unique experiences at the epicenter of a media maelstrom in 1998.

After becoming the focus of the history-changing federal investigation into her private life, Monica Lewinsky found herself, at 24-years-old, one of the first targets of a “culture of humiliation”: a now-familiar cycle of media, political and personal harassment – particularly online.

Lewinsky survived to reclaim her personal narrative. During a decade of silence she received her Masters in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2014, Lewinsky returned to the public eye with an acclaimed essay for Vanity Fair, which has been nominated for a National Magazine Award for best Essay Writing, and with a widely viewed speech at Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Summit.

By Colin Gorenstein

Colin Gorenstein is Salon's assistant editor of internet and viral content. Follow @colingorenstein or email

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