(CNN) — It’s a scandal that rocked the White House. Now we’re hearing echoes of it as Monica Lewinsky re-emerges into the spotlight.
She’s talking openly about the fallout from her relationship with Bill Clinton. This just as Hillary Clinton is on the verge of likely launching another White House run.
“In 1998, says Monica Lewinsky, “I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.” Today, the kind of online public shaming she went through has become a constant. In a brave talk, she takes a look at our “culture of humiliation,” in which online shame equals dollar signs — and demands a different way.” – TED Talk
Far from the hounded twenty-something who became infamous for her involvement with former President Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky appears in a TED Talk (full video at bottom of this post) as a poised, confident 41-year-old. Transforming herself into an advocate against cyberbullying.
“Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know one thing: you can survive it. I know it’s hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy. But you can insist on a different ending to your story,” Lewinski said.
For more than a decade, Lewinsky was almost completely silent about the scandal. Then last year, she emerged with a splashy article in Vanity Fair, saying it was time to “bury the beret and burn the blue dress,” references to clothing she wore at the time.
Then she popped up in a National Geographic mini series talking about how she was pilloried for her presidential infatuation.
“I think a lot too had to do with the fact that I was a woman; to be called stupid, and a slut, and a bimbo, and ditzy; and to be taken out of context. it was excruciating,” Lewinski said.
With even pop stars like Beyonce making reference to her, “He popped all my buttons and he ripped my blouse. He Monica Lewinski’d all on my gown”
Late last year, Lewinsky spoke at a Forbes summit about bullying.
“When I ask myself how best to describe how the last 16 years has felt, I always come back to that word: shame. My own personal shame, shame that befell my family, and shame that befell my country – our country,” Lewinski said.
At the time of the scandal, according to one friend’s account, Hillary Clinton called Lewinsky “a narcissistic loony tune.” But last year when People magazine asked about Lewinsky’s rising profile and the scandal, she said “That was a long time ago. I certainly have moved on.”
CNN asked for a response from Clinton about this new TED Talk, got nothing.
But right now, as so many people are saying it is ‘Hillary’s moment,’ it appears to be Monica’s moment too. And Lewinsky’s desire to confront the past poses a real challenge to Clinton, who would clearly rather forget it.