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‘The Price of Shame’ – Monica Lewinsky Details Bill Clinton Scandal like Never Before in Anti-Cyber Bullying TED2015 Talk

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Monica Lewinsky TEDFor Monica Lewinsky, 1998 is one year that will never be forgotten and in the TED talk which she delivered on the 19th of March 2015, she tells the world exactly why.

In her TED2015 talk titled ‘The Price of Shame’, the 41-year-old former White House intern advocates for a safer and more compassionate social media environment, drawing from her unique experiences at the epicenter of a media maelstrom in 1998 and opens up about the Bill Clinton scandal in ways she has never done so before.

She says, ‘At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss. At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences… Who didn’t make a mistake at 22?’

She went on to say, ‘Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake, and I regret that mistake deeply. In 1998, after having been swept up in an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal, and media maelstrom like we had never seen before’

In the video Monica Lewinsky talks about how the internet changed her life…and changed media as we know it.

She said:

“Now, I admit I made mistakes—especially wearing that beret. But the attention and judgment that I received—not the story, but that I personally received—was unprecedented. I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo and, of course, ‘that woman.’ I was known by many, but actually known by few. I get it. It was easy to forget ‘that woman’ was dimensional and had a soul.”

“In 1998, I lost my reputation and my dignity… I lost my sense of self. When this happened to me, 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now we call it cyber-bullying.”

“Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop. We need to return to a long-held value of compassion and empathy… I’ve seen some very dark days in my life. It was empathy and compassion from friends, family, coworkers, even strangers that saved me. Empathy from one person can make a difference. Compassionate comments help abate the negativity.”

“Because it’s time. Time to stop tiptoeing around my past … Time to take back my narrative. 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.”

Watch the video below.

41 Comments

  1. jennietobbie

    March 24, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Ohhhh, thanks BN for positing this. We are definitely like minded.

    This resonates with Chimamanda’s message: “…”We teach girls shame. Close your legs, cover yourself, we make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who SILENCE themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up–and this is the worst thing we do to girls–they grow up to be women who have turned PRETENSE into an art form.”

    Now let me break it down. What she did was absolutely wrong. She had an affair with her married boss; definitely a HELL to the N-O!!!!!. Her boss was the PRESIDENT of the United States and I expected him to be a family man, a leader and a decision maker. He failed woefully. He disrespected his family, office, Americans and the entire world. How can Monica Lewinsky be the only one to bear the shame of a consensual act by two adults? Why isn’t Clinton hiding his face? Why can’t he disappear if she has to disappear? If we have to judge or punish them, it should be equally dished out; sadly, that’s not the case.

    I respect Ms. Lewinsky for standing up and taking back her narrative in the most powerful way. Your past doesn’t define you. At ANY point in your life, you have the POWER to CHOOSE your next step, your next dream, your next “anything next.” No need throwing pity party around. Stand up, own your actions, accept the consequences and continue your journey in life.

    Also, mistakes are vital. They teach us that we are humans; they provide a path for us to practice love, gratitude, compassion and forgiveness. How else can we show all of those if we are super perfect?

    • Oma Henson white

      March 24, 2015 at 9:32 am

      True. But i think she should stop letting that incident define her. Was/Is it a claim to fame? I expect to hear something else from her. 19 years is somebody’s lifetime,and is a loong time ago.
      True, they both made mistakes in the past,But she should let it gooooooo….

    • ada nnewi

      March 24, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Don’t be an idiot, they both made a mistake and Clinton who was older and supposed to know better, came out smelling like roses cause he’s a man and she was shamed cause she’s a woman.. she lost the best years of her life..if you have been abused and shamed while the idiot man is let off you will not talk this rubbish…she lost her whole career almost 20 years of her life, the incident defined and has redirected her life but she’s taking her life back now…

    • Oma Henson white

      March 24, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      @Ada Nnewi, Don’t be an idiot?Why now?Biko stay off my case o

    • Iris

      March 24, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      She could have let it go if the world had let it go. Trust me this incident made her more infamous than famous. Maybe if it had happened now it could have been a ‘claim to fame’ but back then she came off as a whore who destabilized the country’s governance and everyone judged her for that; meanwhile Clinton as a man and an ex-president was given the opportunity to shake it off. People may talk about his scandal, but that isn’t all they credit him with. I didn’t really understand when I was younger, but as an adult I realized this woman was just 22 or 23 when this happened. She was a young intern working for one of the most powerful men in the country. I won’t be surprised if she was overwhelmed by him. She was definitely old enough to know better, but I also see how a young girl fresh out of school ould have easily made such a silly mistake. Meanwhile I won’t be surprised if many of her accusers had been unfaithful to their partners or had some kind of tryst they’d regretted.

    • ada nnewi

      March 24, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Stop being an idiot by belittling an experience that scared another human being…

    • ada nnewi

      March 24, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      *scarred

    • CurvesAndEdges

      March 25, 2015 at 12:42 am

      Ada Nnewi, that statement ‘don’t be an idiot’ is so disrespectful.

    • Ada

      March 27, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Oma dear, I just had to comment. I agree with you totally. Clinton has long since moved on, built a thriving Foundation and remains one of the most respected leaders of our time. Monica should have moved on by now and done something else with herself! Almost 2 decades after the deed she is still clinging to the “Clinton slept with me” memory? Will that be it for the rest of her life? To be tagged “The woman Clinton slept with!”? I tire for her o! Let her move on and yes she can! Find a job, work at it, open a charity, work at it, volunteer for one organization (they go gree cause of your “name”), work at it, marry (if you can),, work at it, adopt a child (if you want), work at it! Do something else for yourself biko! She needs to learn lessons from Ese Walters of COZA Pastor Scandal fame, the babe has so moved on! This one, 19 years later is still playing the “I was victimized, Clinton slept with me” card?! Sorry o!

    • Abby Scuito

      March 29, 2015 at 3:33 am

      @Ada….Cliinton did not sleep with her….she gave him “head”!!!! Lol

    • papermoon

      March 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      Jennietobbie, i concur, i have nothing useful to add except that women must learn to love who they are then all the ristrictions will fall off. thank God Monica found her strength to rise above that issue and actually speak to it, thats wonderful!!

  2. blow

    March 24, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I am proud of you, woman ! Glad to know you have risen above your past, and learnt from your mistakes. Interesting that no one ever talks about Clinton ‘ s part, neither did he lose his political pedigree.
    yet he was the elder one, and it takes 2 to commit adultery,,,,,,,, just reminded me of the biblical woman caught in the act,,,,,,, whatever happens to the man?
    Abi she committed the adultery with a dildos ni? Mtcheww!

  3. spoonfullofsugar

    March 24, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I’m not watching this Video. As much as I love Ted Talks, Monica Lewinksy became famous because she went on her knees for Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is famous for being the President of the United States. They both suffer the shame from that action but we just have nothing else to remember her for. While I do not judge the inappropriateness of their actions, I do not think any of them should speak about any moral lessons to be gained therefrom.

    • Truth234

      March 24, 2015 at 11:59 am

      Then you need to experience how it feels to be condemned, called slut etc for a single mistake you made at age 22. Mr/Mrs Righteous!

    • Iris

      March 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      So if you make a mistake and admit to it publicly and try to move on , you’re not allowed to encourage others to do the same? So only blameless people can talk? Who will we learn from then?

    • Tatler

      March 24, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Spoonfulofhebalbitters would be more apt for you. What a sour puss

  4. Truth234

    March 24, 2015 at 9:49 am

    You are very right, imagine Clinton is been celebrated while she is the only victim of their affair. Is Clinton not supposed to be the leader and handle it much better. Clintons grace every corporate gathering earning between $250k to $ 1 million per speech and enjoy a blossom career with his wife, yet the wife will not ceased saying Lewinsky almost ruined all they’ve worked for. as if they are the victim. Women are their own worst enemy, a girl child need to be treated with respect.

    • otitoju

      March 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      dear Truth234: this is what happens to women who decide to allow themselves to be used by men. By virtue of the fact that Bill’s wife wanted her marriage to work, there must be a victim. they choose Monica. If you are single, stare clear of poeple’s hunsbands because it will not cause them much to launder their images if their wives decide to be forgiving but for you whom he probably doesnt owe much, he will gladly sacrifice without thinking twice. avoid ” falling in love with married men”, trust me it could burn you really bad.

    • Osa

      March 24, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      The thing is that we have to start respecting women whether they are married or not and not castigate them or look down on them based on their maritial or relationship status as some messed up in the head married women look down on their unmarried counterparts. Men dont do it.

      Do u think if Hilary Clinton could get another man in that state, she wouldnt have left Bill Clinton. If it was the other way round, Bill Clinon would have kicked Hilary out, snapped his fingers and 100 women in their early 20s worst case scenario would have come running and be more than pleased to take on his old saggy balls.

      Women will always be available for men, however old the men are. Hilary too knows the disgrace and embarrassment she would face of not being a married woman. We need to stop embarraassing unmarried ladies so they dont take rash decisions.

      Look at our universities, a lot of male lecturers and female students got it going on. But can a female lecturer even dream of such? That day she will lose her carreer if not her life, yet male lecturers carry on sexually harrasing female students in all forms. If the female student reports, her image and hope of a husband in the future is messed up.

    • straight

      March 25, 2015 at 8:58 am

      @otitoju you couldn’t have said it any better. If you made a mistake you live with it. I’m made mine and i’ve made my peace with it. Yes a woman should choose to spread or not spread and sex whoever she wants but by God when you make such choices in the name of feminism don’t expect Aunty feminism to bear the consequences for you. Live with it and move the hell on. Ah Ah!!!

    • Ife.O

      March 24, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Goodness gracious! How dare you say Hilary was not a victim? It was her husband Monica slept with for crying out loud. Yes, Bill is supposed to be as ashamed as Monica because unlike Monica, he took a vow and broke that vow. I believe it is a problem of double standards, which is wrong. But to say Hilary is not a victim? I am angry that Hilary (the only innocent party) was made to bear as much shame as she did. She was disrespected on all fronts. Guess what! Now that she is thinking about running for election, the ugly past is back rearing its head. Monica was shamed–maybe a little too much, but she needs to get off this victim mentality she keeps assuming. What about little Chelsea who had the whole world watch as her family almost tore apart? Some Americans spite Hilary simply because she chose to forgive her husband. I can’t with such people. The real victims are Hilary and Chelsea, to be very honest. Monica is also a victim, I agree because unlike Bill, people have refused to let go. However, she was a full grown ADULT. I expect a 22 (or 24?) year old to be fully aware of every (unwise) decision they make, and be ready to take responsibility for the consequences. For goodness sakes, what was she thinking, the president and leader of the free world would leave his wife for her or what?

  5. RIFF RAFF

    March 24, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Reminds me of that COZA drama. I commend Monica who at least owned up to her mistakes, contrary to Bill who lied and was later accused of perjury. Now she’s 41…. how time flies. I feel for Monica yes , but she’s not the only one who felt publicly humiliated . What about Hilary? Yes, i know, “the other woman” doesn’t owe the wife anything . She wasn’t there when the man promised his wife everlasting love and faithfulness on their wedding day But. as a woman, she should equally understand the wife’s embarrassment.. And why not, listen to the wife’s side of the story?.Or is it because Hilary, as a trained lawyer and politician, knows how to mask her feelings? Or because Hilary doesn’t go about “opening up ” on her feelings/marriage on every magazine and interview? Hilary was hurt deeply. Today, they’re separated. It is because of Monica? No, it was due to a couple of problems( and indescretions) that just kept piling up, but this affair was the cherry on the cake. It’s no secret they now “stay together” because of Hilary’s political ambitions….saving face/PR portrayal of marriage things.
    Monica should ask for forgiveness to those she hurt, forgive those who hurt her and more importantly , forgive herself. All the best to this lady.
    LESSON: Ladies, kiaful when u mess around with a public figure, cos when poo hits the fan, he will forget his “i will always love you”s, he will abandon u without remorse, save his face, continue well well with his life and WIFE, while u will carry that shame for the rest of your days. Nobody will care if he lied to u about his life or u if u didn’t know he was married. Except for God’s miracle, NO amount of PR will redeem your reputation.
    Ask ESE WALTERS.

    • ada nnewi

      March 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Abeg Bill Clinton and Hillary were in marriage for business not love…

    • Confuzzled

      March 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      You don’t know that. Either way, that doesn’t justify the public humiliation Hilary also suffered as a result of the scandal.

    • ada nnewi

      March 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Hillary suffered humiliation because of her HUSBAND, Lewinsky made no vows to hilary, bill did and failed to KEEP HIS VOWS…..

    • aurora

      March 24, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      Madam Ada, u seem to know so much about the Clinton and their marriage. Well done. All I can say is Monica is milking this scandal as much as she can and she would never gain any sympathy as long as she plays this victim role. See how ese Walters acknowledged her affair and moved on in life. Did people hate her, damn yes. But did she dwell on it? Nope. She said d story and didn’t go around granting interviews. Monica lewisky has showed the world that she’s nothing more than the girl who gave the president a blow job.
      Look at Kim kardashian, everyday u lot talk about how talentless she is, but I don’t see how dwelling on a past indiscretion helped her business empire.
      Lewinsky has to move on. What has she done in the past 2 decades to make us see her in another light?
      Boo hoo, im a victim, cry for me.

  6. been there

    March 24, 2015 at 10:20 am

    good to know someone gave her a platform this day.

    she paid the ultimate price for a sin/crime that was committed by both herself and clinton. and it continues to happen around us everyday. we can only imagine what she went through, the shame, and to not commit suicide?

    this was a highly talented young lady, imagine no one wanted to give her a job afterwards, except of course she changed her name but why should she, clinton did not have to.

    monica lewinsky is a lesson to the women folk and even to men, refuse to be mary magdalene EXCEPT you are willing to pay the price OR have your personal Jesus to save you from a bloodthirsty mob.

    • I_I

      March 25, 2015 at 10:21 am

      What has Mary Magdalene done to you? Isn’t she the woman that washed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume?

  7. LOVE

    March 24, 2015 at 10:20 am

    WELL SPOKEN. I THINK SHE JUST WANT TO SPEAK ON HOW SHE HAS FELT OVER THE YEARS OF HUMILIATION AND THEN MOVE ON WITH HER NEW LIFE. GOOD TURNING POINT AND NEW LEAF. “TIME TO STOP TIPTOEING AROUND MY PAST”

  8. istidele

    March 24, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Like a bad case of herpes……….

  9. O

    March 24, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Kim Kardashian needs to give a talk like this too. I hope our modern days feminists will have her back too since Monica Lewinsky has been shown “empathy” for doing just about the same thing people hate her for. Well only in her case, Ray J wasn’t a married, serving leader of the free world. Some charlatan will say Kim does not have any talent, so it is not the same thing, just know God will punish you if you even think that (Yes you double mouthed feminists backing only “intellectuals” or seemingly defenseless women for self gratification). NO WOMAN deserves to be repeatedly heckled and slutshamed for bad choices she made.

    Now that I think of it, Kim hasn’t let the sex tape become a comeback topic years after…Ms. Lewinsky should move on, bless her heart.

  10. josh

    March 24, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Sincerely speaking their are people that won’t give a Damn if they where in lewinsky’s shoes. They will even be happy to give interview at any point in time. If she had careless about d scandal, am sure she would have moved on since and be living her life

  11. tunmi

    March 24, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I cannot stand that man till today. I truly cannot. That incompetent person. That useless person. How dare you tarnish the office of the presidency. How dare you disrespect yourself, your wife. And your daughter. How dare you disrespect Lewinsky all over again. How dare you.

    Lewinsky did enjoy some fame but the shame she was made to carry, that scarlet letter, we are still working to erase that. And this is why I applaud Kim Kardashian.

    And to all married women and men, your grouse is not with the third party but with the disrespectful, awful person with whom you promised loyalty

    • Tatler

      March 24, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Wow, Scandal would give you a stroke. Don’t watch it ever.

    • tunmi

      March 24, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      I like scandal for the minor characters, symbolism, and reading other people’s thoughts of it. Cheating is great on TV but General Petreas wasn’t so cheered when his scandal broke. The hypocrisy is just interesting

  12. nnenne

    March 24, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    We all make mistakes. Who are you to judge?
    The important thing is that you both learnt from your mistakes.
    Now, we must move on!

  13. Engagement rings

    March 24, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    She had to wear a blue dress? Pls u ma stop talking about it. E don do

  14. Bruness

    March 25, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Ermm!!! Aunt lewinsky you really are milking this scandal dry just like aurora commented, a lot of women go through different kinds of abuse yet they get through it and try to soar higher, what have you been doing these past years, you granted a million interviews, wrote a book, and then your news got stale and you’ve been brooding since, if it’s not monicas story, it’s, it’s shame and survival. She’s been on jimmy kimmel, graham norton, Barbara Walters show etc. She has covered time magazine, wrote a book. I can’t believe she’s still on about this thing, look @ ese she’s moved on and no one seems to be bothered, Tina Turner was abused badly and she choose not to talk about that life on the media and has clearly moved on. You’ve played the victim card long a
    enough, go away live a simple life and push the past over and look out for YOU, to hell with Clinton.

  15. cleo

    March 25, 2015 at 10:35 am

    She obviously did not get good counselling and PR advice. She needs to move on despite the scandal. She made a mistake. News flash nobody is above mistake!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Move on dear, and dont let that mistake define your future. I am not a fan of adultery, i am against it but hey Clinton moved on, Hillary used it for political ambition, you too pick up your life and move ahead.

    • Idomagirl

      March 26, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      Nigerians are so quick to tell people to move on. How can she move on when the world refuses to let her? The entire purpose of her talk is to tell the world to back off so that she can move on.

  16. Ada

    March 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Some of us will not be sung on the strength of who we sleep with! At 22 I was a graduate “legging” the streets of Abuja looking for a job. We don’t all make grievous mistakes at 22! I expect those who make mistakes to take back their lives and move on! If 19 years later, you are still crying foul, sorry then!

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