Monica Lewinsky Joins Twitter To Combat Cyber-Bullying, Inevitable Online Trolling Follows
In a bid to end cyber-bullying, Monica Lewinsky has joined Twitter. And, as if on cue, she has been cyber-bullied herself.
The social network is as notorious for its population of trolls as it is for all of its positive aspects, and while Lewinsky – who famously fell for Bill Clinton while working with him during his time in the White House in the 1990s – has had a large amount of support, she naturally has also fallen victim to a hefty amount of abuse.
She described herself as “patient zero” of internet scandals and online bullying, adding: “Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too. I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”
Lewinsky’s affair with the then-President was first published by the Drudge Report in 1998 and soon made its way around the world. Speaking at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit yesterday (October 20), she said in a speech: “There was no Facebook,Twitter or Instagram back then. But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which 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’.
“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.’”
Sadly, that’s a thought that plays through the minds of so many people falling victim to the dark side of the internet, and Lewinsky said that the story of Tyler Clementi – a freshman who killed himself after being outed as gay and subsequently abused in 2010 – inspired her to take this new path. “That tragedy is one of the principal reasons I am standing up here today. While it touched us both, my mother was unusually upset by the story, and I wondered why. Eventually it dawned on me: she was back in 1998, back to a time when I was periodically suicidal; when she might very easily have lost me; when I, too, might have been humiliated to death.”