"Public humiliation is a commodity and shame is an industry," Monica Lewinsky said in a blistering attack on cyberbullying at the TED conference yesterday, recounting how, in 1998, she was "swept up into the eye of a political, legal, and media maelstrom like we had never seen before." "At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss," she said, according to the TED blog. "At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences." As her name and image spread online, she said, "I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide." She described how she was "branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo, and, of course, 'that woman'" by "mobs of virtual stone-throwers."
Lewinsky, describing how she had been moved by the 2010 suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, called for a "cultural revolution" to change how people behave online, Vanity Fair reports. "Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop," she said. "We need to return to a long-held value of compassion and empathy." In a New York Times interview before the conference, Lewinsky said she aimed to help others with her return to the public eye. "In someone else's darkest moment, lodged in their subconscious might be the knowledge that there was someone else who was, at one point in time, the most humiliated person in the world," she said. "And that she survived it."