Monica Lewinsky made her latest public appearance in a TED talk called “The Price of Shame” on Thursday.
“Like me, at 22, a few of you may also have taken wrong turns by falling in love with the wrong person,” Lewinsky said, according to the New York Times.
“Maybe even your boss. Unlike me, though, your boss probably wasn’t the President of the United States of America.”
Lewinsky’s widely known story — she was former President Bill Clinton’s intern in 1995 and 1996, and the two had an “inappropriate relationship” while she worked in the White House — opened her up to online harassment and public shaming in the years following the incident.
Now Lewinsky is speaking out about how she’s been treated.
“[It’s] time to stop tip-toeing around my past…and time to take back my narrative,” Lewinsky said.
“Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop,” Lewinsky said to the audience of almost 1,400. She says the internet has fostered a culture where cyberbullying and shaming are increasingly common. She cited Tyler Clementi, a gay Rutgers student who committed suicide in 2010 after being cyberbullied.
“There is a very personal price to public humiliation,” she said. “And the growth of the Internet has jacked up that price.”
Lewinsky said public shaming has even evolved into an online industry.
“A marketplace has emerged where public humiliation is a commodity,” she said. “How is the money made? Clicks.”
According to the New York Times, VC Chris Sacca said Lewinsky’s 20-minute talk was “one of the best, most courageous TED talks ever.”
Here’s a short clip of Lewinsky’s TED Talk: