Lewinsky loved Clinton in a ‘a 22-year-old sort of a way’
Lewinsky, who sent shock waves through the end of the 20th century and well into the 21st, made these remarks at a summit organized by Forbes magazine
Speaking out against individual-targeted internet abuse in an emotional speech, Monica Lewinsky said she had fallen “in love” with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Lewinsky, whose name made headlines through the end of the 20th century and well into the 21st, made these remarks on Monday at a summit organized by Forbes magazine.
“I fell in love with my boss in a 22-year-old sort of a way,” she said, describing herself as a “more than averagely romantic” recent college graduate.
“But my boss was the President of the United States.”
In a rare public address, the now 41-year-old former White House intern said she wanted “to give purpose to my past” by campaigning against an internet culture that tirelessly targets individuals in the news.
Speaking about her headline-making affair with Clinton in the late 1990s, Lewinsky said she was “the first person to have [had] their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the internet.”
“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,” she said.
“Overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publically humiliated one,” she recounted.
“I was patient zero,” Lewinsky described herself, explaining that her reputation was the first to be tainted by the internet.
She held back tears as she remembered the ordeal following news of the affair, namely threats of legal action against her and her mother.
Lewinsky a 25-year-old White House intern when news of the affair exploded through the internet said she witnessed “a viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly ‘social media.’”
“Staring at the computer screen, I spent the day shouting: ‘Oh my God’ and ‘I can’t believe they put that in’ or ‘That’s so out of context’. And those were the only thoughts that interrupted a relentless mantra in my head: I want to die,” she told the attendees.
“I was shattered,” she said.
Lewinsky, who now holds a master’s in psychology from the London School of Economics, is now actively fighting to limit shaming and humiliation of individuals on the internet.
She said she adopted the cause when she heard of the gay U.S. college student who committed suicide after his roommate filmed him kissing a man and posted the footage online.