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  (Source: YouTube/Forbes)
Ms. Lewinsky accuses unsympathetic internet legions of leaving her "publically humiliated"

Speaking to 1,000-plus young entrepreneurs and achievers at Forbes' 30 Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia, Monica Lewinsky opened up for the first time in over a decade about her affair with then-President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton.  In the speech she argues that she was "patient-zero" -- one of the first victims of internet cyber-bullying.

She recalls the affair with the President, stating:

So allow me to briefly recap my story. Sixteen years ago, fresh out of college, a 22-year-old intern in the White House — and more than averagely romantic – I fell in love with my boss in a 22-year-old sort of a way. It happens. But my boss was the President of the United States. That probably happens less often.

Now, I deeply regret it for many reasons. Not the least of which is that people were hurt. And that’s never okay.

But back then, in 1995, we started an affair that lasted, on and off, for two years.  And, at that time, it was my everything. That, I guess you could say, was the golden bubble part for me; the nice part. The nasty part was that it became public. Public with a vengeance.



The scandal eventually led to President Clinton's Dec. 1998 impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives.  The House argued the President perjured himself when he wrote in a sworn deposition, "I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. I've never had an affair with her."
 
The President was subsequently acquitted by the U.S. Senate the next year.  President Clinton also famously remarked about his testimony to Congress during questioning about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
 
Ms. Lewinsky claims that federal authorities threatened to imprison her for 27 years for denying the affair in a sworn affidavit. However, she was never charged.
 
She goes on to blame internet commenters and online media for, in her eyes, dragging her name through the mud. She states:

Thanks to the internet and a website that at the time, was scarcely known outside of Washington DC but a website most of us know today called the Drudge report. Within 24 hours I became a public figure, not just in the United States but around the entire globe. As far as major news stories were concerned, this was the very first time that the traditional media was usurped by the Internet.

In 1998, as you can imagine, there was a media frenzy. Even though it was pre-Google, (that’s right, pre-Google). The World Wide Web (as we called it back then) was already a big part of life.

Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one. I was Patient Zero.

She goes on to suggest the internet ruined her reputation, remarking:

The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet. There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then. But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails could be forwarded.

Of course, it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial-up. Yet around the world this story went. A viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly "social media."

If only I could collect some royalties.

 
Technically speaking, Monica Lewinsky did collect a fair amount of royalties, garnering millions in income from book deals, payments for exclusive interviews, celebrity appearances on televisions shows, and celebrity endorsements.  Ms. Lewinsky claimed, though, that the income from these sources was too limited to keep up with her high living costs in posh Manhattan, New York, and later in upscale parts of London where she later relocated as a graduate student.

Monica Lewinsky speaking
Monica Lewinsky speaks to young entrepeneurs. [Image Source: YouTube/Forbes]

She likens herself to actress Jennifer Lawrence whose nude selfies were recently leaked via the hack of Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iCloud.  She comments:

We are all vulnerable to humiliation, private and public figures alike. (I’m sure Jennifer Lawrence would agree with that. Or any of the 90,000 people whose private Snapchat pictures were released last week during “the Snappening”).

She recalls feeling suicidal and says her identity was "stolen" by the internet hordes, commenting:

I lost my reputation. I was publicly identified as someone I didn’t recognize. And I lost my sense of self. Lost it, or had it stolen; because in a way, it was a form of identity theft.

She concludes by bemoaning the lack of sympathy on web, stating:

What we really need is a cultural revolution. Online, we’ve got a compassion deficit – an Empathy Crisis — and something tells me that matters a lot more to most of us.

She said that by sharing her story she hopes she can make a difference in the lives of others who are cyberbullied and might be contemplating suicide.

Source: Forbes





"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook



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