Monica Lewinsky has had every reason to stay silent for the last 17 years. After all, as she wrote in Vanity Fair, following the release of information about her affair with then-President Bill Clinton, she was probably the first person to be bullied on the Internet.
But she hasn't let that keep her quiet, and at a TED talk in Vancouver on Thursday, she called for an end to the public shaming that accompanies any mistakes made in this day and age.
"I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously," Lewinsky says. It was Tyler Clementi, who died by suicide after his roommate posted a video of his tryst with another man online, that pushed her to action.
"Tyler’s tragic, senseless death was a turning point for me," says Lewinsky on the TED blog. "It served to recontextualize my experiences. I began to look at the world of humiliation and bullying around me and see something different … Every day online, people — especially young people who are not developmentally equipped to handle this — are so abused and humiliated that they can’t imagine living to the next day."
While the video of the talk will likely be online tomorrow, the tweets from the event demonstrate just how inspirational the woman was in person. Take a look:
— Maria Popova (@brainpicker) March 19, 2015
Lewinsky: "I admit I made mistakes, especially wearing that beret. But the attention and judgement I received was unprecedented" #TED2015— Jodie Martinson (@JodieMartinson) March 19, 2015
"I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo and of course 'that woman.' I was seen by many, but known by few." -@MonicaLewinsky— Stephanie Buck (@StephMBuck) March 19, 2015
Monica Lewinsky calls for a cultural revolution. "Public shaming as a bloodsport has to stop." #TED2015— Marsha Lederman (@marshalederman) March 19, 2015
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