Monica Lewinsky hasn’t spoken publicly for years about her affair with President Bill Clinton, but now she is opening up again about the intense scrutiny she came under back then in hopes that her “own suffering” could help others experiencing similar “humiliation.”
In an essay for Vanity Fair, excerpts of which the magazine posted online Tuesday, Lewinsky wrote that the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who was secretly taped kissing another man, pushed her to speak up about her experience.
Lewinsky said her mother was especially distraught about Clementi’s death.
“She was reliving 1998, when she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because I, too, was suicidal,” Lewinsky wrote about her mother, clarifying that she never attempted suicide.
She says she wants to “get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”
“Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation,” she wrote.
She also claimed that she occupies a unique place in the history of the Internet. “Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,” she wrote.
Lewinsky tries to clear the air about her role in the affair.
“I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton,” she wrote. “Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
And she places blame on the Clinton administration for making her into a scapegoat.
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position,” she wrote.