I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Woman

I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Woman

28 Aug 2019

Lying to loved ones, lying to doctors. It's all pretty troubling. There's much to fret over and think about on the pages of LifeSearch.com right now, so to break it up a little here’s a rundown of five of history's best/ most famous lies.

A quick aside, no-one's pretending the lies in this list weren't hurtful to individuals, families, institutions and even the countries involved, aye Bill, Richard, Lance?

But enough time has passed that maybe, just maybe, we can smile a little at the ludicrous lies of our time.

The Lewinsky affair

LifeSearch was born in 1998, a year the media was red hot about that blue dress.

The story started in 1995 when 42nd US president Bill Clinton, Hilary's husband since 1975, began something with a 22 year old intern called Monica. The relationship lasted until 1997 and the scandal broke in 1998 when a civil servant handed secret tapes over to the media. 

President Clinton was hit first with perjury then impeachment proceedings, but none of the big ticket charges ultimately stuck. To say he totally got away with it isn't true: Clinton was held in contempt of court and fined $90,000. A career lawyer, he was also suspended from practicing law in his home state of Arkansas and completely disbarred from presenting cases at a federal level.

Most damning, however, is that he'll always be synonymous with the words: I DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMAN … because he did. He really did.

“I am not a crook”

From one former US president to another. While Bill Clinton escaped impeachment over the Lewinsky affair, 37th US president Richard Nixon resigned over his own scandal, Watergate, in 1974.

Watergate is the name of a Washington DC office complex, where a major department of the US Democratic Party were headquartered. A 1972 break-in at Watergate was, it turned out, orchestrated largely by Nixon's republican administration. And he only went and covered it up.

Nicknamed “Tricky” Dick Nixon, the President managed to weave and dodge the investigation into Watergate, but when he ran out of rope he was forced to hand over several tape recordings. One later became known as the "Smoking Gun Tape" as it made clear his complicity in the cover-up.
Credibility knackered, political support wiped out – Nixon resigned his Presidency before the Watergate scandal made it to trial - where he'd almost certainly have been found guilty and removed from office with even more hoopla.

“I have never doped”

Cyclist Lance Armstrong had a fairytale story. Beating cancer after being given 50/50 odds, he returned to his sport and was its biggest name for a decade, scooping seven Tour De France titles.

He had a rock star wife, loads of kids and was one of the highest profile sports personalities in the world. Big-money sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike and Oakley meant he was also one of the highest paid.

Allegations of doping were never far from the Texan road racer, however. They dated back even to his first Tour De France. But intimidation, fear and Armstrong's celebrity status – which had won him many powerful political friends – meant whistleblowers were too afraid to come forward, or weren't taken seriously when they did. Armstrong's mantra was always “I have never doped.”

But he had – his doping was a badly kept secret. Several UK and Irish journalists pursued the cyclist, waiting for the day the bubble would burst. 
And that day came in 2013, when he was finally nailed by US anti-doping authorities. Sponsors pulled out, he lost $100m in a day and he was later stripped of his titles.

The great reality TV swindle

The first three lies and liars – you've probably heard of them. But this one has been largely forgotten by history, even though it's a profoundly captivating, crazy old lie.

We'll give you the gist, but the story – and a subsequent 2002 documentary about it – is utterly fascinating.

The name Nikita Russian mightn't mean much to you but he was (and probably still is) a uni dropout, and an aspiring TV presenter. In 2002, the obviously gifted and ridiculously good-looking dude took advantage of the mass popularity of a then-new format called reality TV .... and managed to swindle 30 Brits into giving up their homes, jobs and even partners in order to appear on a year-long new show.

The problem was it didn't exist.

Russian fronted a phoney production company. He had his mates and girlfriend act as psychologists and runners and cameramen as they put show applicants (over 1,000 came forward after Russian bought legit newspaper and magazine ads) through their paces.In the end, 30 contestants were chosen. They had medicals, they signed contracts and they agreed to the terms of a show that seemed oh-so-real. On launch day they turned up with only some clothes and their passports - as instructed - to finally hear the big reveal and where this crazy new ‘international’ show would take them. 

The year-long expedition didn’t make it out of London. Contestants quickly learned that their first task was to find free accommodation, then free food. Oh and the £1m prize fund - they had to generate that themselves. This didn’t smell right. Most quit immediately but some went along with it for a bit. After all, the cameras were rolling and it was easy to think it was all part of the format.

But time went by and Russian eventually admitted he had no broadcaster, no money and no hope of landing support. It was only when participants locked him inside a London flat and called the news media on him that he and his duped subjects finally made it onto TV. 

Girl you know it's true...

Last but certainly not least we're going back in time to the late 80s, when two velvet-voiced German hunks struck a chord with music fans worldwide. Milli Vanilli was a pop duo whose sales were in the millions. The girls loved them, and an impressive debut year was marked with a Best New Artist Grammy. Which they soon had to give back. You see, journalists were a little confused when they tried to match the fluid, confident vocals of Milli Vanilli to these two lads who were very, very green and very, very German. They didn't seem to have a great grasp of English. Confusion soon turned to contempt when one of the group, the now-deceased Robert Pilatus, was quoted in a March 1990 issue of Time magazine proclaiming himself to be "the new Elvis" and saying the duo were more musically talented than Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger.

By that point, the music press were begging these lads to trip up and soon enough they did - in spectacular fashion. At a live show, Milli Vanilli's equipment failed, revealing the pair's alien, poor, terrible vocal skills. An investigation followed and the real singers came forward, alleging that they were paid hush money by record label bosses. Milli Vanilli was exposed: a hoax, a ruse, a lie.The pair tried to sing au natural to recover their careers but the results were … well, go check them on YouTube. Not great. 

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