Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky gave an emotional speech about her role in one of the world’s most infamous sex scandals on Monday in Philadelphia at the Forbes Under 30 Summit.
According to multiple tweets from audience members, Lewinsky began by saying she fell “in love” with President Bill Clinton and that their affair was her “everything.”
Now 41, Lewinsky said she fresh out of college 16 years ago when she became a White House staffer and a controversial figure subsequently.
“I fell in love with my boss,” she said during the business conference, which marked her first public address in 13 years.
As a result of the controversy she was involved having an affair with Clinton, Lewinsky said she went from being “a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one” overnight and she was “patient zero.”
While there was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then, Lewinsky pointed out there were news, gossip and websites full of comment sections and emails that could be forwarded.
“Around the world this story went. A viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly social media,” she commented.
Now that she has broken her silence after a decade, Lewinsky announced that she supports the campaign to end cyberbullying and the toxic culture of internet shaming in the modern generation.
Clinton’s former mistress also claimed to be “the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet” as she herself experienced online harassment in the late 1990s.
Clinton was impeached by the House of Representative as a result of the 1998 sex scandal and subsequently acquitted by the Senate. As for Lewinsky, her life since the scandal was tainted by suicidal thoughts and a deep sense of shame.
As a part of her campaign against cyberbullying, Lewinsky herself joined Twitter.
Another victim of abuse, although of different sort, is Tony Award-winning “Cabaret” actor Alan Cumming.
While promoting his new book “Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir,” Cummings mentioned that he has known Lewinsky for 16 years and described her as “a lovely girl” and is one of the most loving, tender, clever and fun persons that he knows.
“The fact that she’s been able to remain such an amazing person with all that horrible bile that was heaped upon her as a young woman is testament to the person she is,” Cumming told The New York Daily News.