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Seventeen years after her affair with President Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky is speaking out against online shaming, urging compassion over negativity.
Speaking out publicly in a 20-minute TED Talk on Thursday, Lewinsky, 41, recalled the attacks and ridicule during her time in the harsh glow of the spotlight as the scandal unfolded. She described being the victim of what is now called cyberbullying, urging others to create a movement away from the "culture of humiliation," while assuring the targets of it that they can endure negative comments.
"Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop,'' she said. "Empathy from one person can make a difference."
More from Lewinsky:
- On surviving online abuse: "Anyone who is suffering from pain and humiliation needs to know one thing: you can survive it,'' she said. "I know it's hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy, but you can insist on a different ending to your story."
- On being a victim of cyberbullying: "Now I admit I made mistakes — especially wearing that beret — but the attention and judgment that I received — not the story, but that I personally received — was unprecedented,” she said. “I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo and, of course, ‘that woman.’ I was known by many, but actually known by few. I get it. It was easy to forget ‘that woman’ was dimensional and had a soul.”
- On the industry of online shaming: "The more shame, the more clicks,'' she said. "The more clicks, the more advertising dollars."