Monica Lewinsky In Westport: More Than Just Words

When I heard that Monica Lewinsky will speak in Westport on October 6 — as part of the Westport Arts Center’s bullying exhibition — my first thought was: “Huh?”

But that’s the whole idea. For nearly 20 years, she’s been defined by what happened between her and the President of the United States.

Lewinsky is no longer a 24-year-old intern. She’s a 42-year-old woman who spent 10 years in self-imposed silence (several of them outside the country).

Now she’s speaking out. She talks about a subject she knows too well: internet shaming.

Lewinsky has tried to move beyond her image as the young woman in a stained dress. She’s now a social activist, contributing editor to Vanity Fair — and ambassador to

Lewinsky has first-hand knowledge of the “culture of humiliation.” She is an expert at the effects of cyberbullies.  Anyone — and everyone — can become, like her, a target of the digital playground.

Her 2015 TED Talk — “The Price of Shame” — has been viewed millions of times. In it, she describes losing her reputation instantly — and globally — via the internet. “Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop,” she says.

In Westport, Lewinsky will build on themes underlying the Arts Center’s exhibit. It examines the topic of bullying within a broad cultural context that considers how perceived imbalances of social, physical — or political — power can be abused to marginalize others.

Sadly, it seems just as relevant in 2016 as it was in 1998.

(Monica Lewinsky’s talk at the Westport Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 6 includes a panel discussion. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here or call 203-222-7070.)


43 responses to “Monica Lewinsky In Westport: More Than Just Words

  1. I find it very difficult to be sympathetic, considering her experience was a direct result of her own loose morals and not a prefabrication. That said I do find it absolutely disgusting that she might be held at ridicule forever while her cohort in crime is revered as a shining example of public service. She and Mr. Clinton singlehandedly ushered in the present societal mindset of whatever you do just deny, deny, deny until it goes away. We still suffer from that today, especially in politics. Believe it or not after the scandal his approval ratings went up with one constituency….you guessed it, women. Explain that to me in a “civilized” society. So I guess thanks are in order for her being a living example of the ramifications of stupidity but I won’t be attending the event.

  2. Wow, I’m impressed – in a very good way – that Westport, Connecticut will allow Monica Lewinsky to speak there so close to the election, my impression was that, if not the majority then the loudest in Westport made it ‘Hillary Territory’.

  3. I hope her first words of her speech are, ” If it weren’t for my actions, I could not have been put in a position to be humiliated”

    • Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

      It took two people for the incident(s) to occur. One was old enough to be the father of the other.

      • Clinton wasn’t Lewinsky’s first married partner, just the one with the highest profile. She had an affair with a former teacher, Andy Bleiler before Clinton.
        “Monica Lewinsky’s former high school drama instructor said yesterday that he had a long-running affair with her that began in 1992 during her college years in Portland, Ore., and continued until last year, throughout much of the time she reportedly has alleged she had an intimate relationship with President Clinton”. (Washing Post Jan 28, 1998)

  4. Sure Ms. Lewinsky was of age when this all happened but she was clearly a victim of the Clinton machine. Can you imagine as 21 year old having to defend yourself against not only the machine but the main stream media… The Clinton’s should be ashamed of themselves for every attack they have perpetrated on woman. You would have to wonder why any woman could actually support such deplorable people

    • Why could any woman support such deplorable people, Matt? Because the alternative terrifies me – as a Jew, as a woman, and as a human being. His vitriolic ramblings are far too reminiscent of Hitler for me to stomach. I may not love the alternative, but in this election, I’ll choose the lesser of two evils for sure.

      • I don’t know if you know any women who have ever worked for Trump, but I do; beginning as far back as the 1980’s those women – who are now comfortable with nest eggs in the double digit-millions, a result of having worked for him, they credit him with a work atmosphere that was 1. 100% meritocracy, and 2. safe from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

        And, As far as, as you say you are, as a Jew, terrified, his oldest daughter converted to Judaism with his blessing.

        It’s too bad that the vernacular used to win primaries and maybe also to win the election coupled with his late start in the political arena, i.e., he isn’t a career politician, doesn’t allow him to fully express his personal and professional record and personality.

        • A. David Wunsch

          Mr. Trump has been married 3 times. After each divorce he married a woman who was substantially younger then her predecessor. He has confused his wives with cars: he trades in the old model (and they do seem to be models) for someone who is newer and has less mileage on her odometer. I would not want to bet that his present wife is his last one.

          Here is a thought experiment : If Hillary had 5 children by three different guys do you think she’d be a candidate for President ?
          ADW Staples 1956

  5. .”…the Devil with the Blue Dress on”

    • Monica is our Helen of Troy. If Clinton hadn’t had that dumb affair he would have been in a good position to campaign for Gore in 2000, especially in Florida where he could have done great good. The election would have gone to Gore and there would have been no Iraq war. She may not have had the face that launched a thousand ships but she and that fool Bill launched thousands to their death. And of course that grinning Yale frat boy, Delta Kappa Epsilon President, gets some of the credit .
      ADW Staples 1956

  6. Carolanne Curry

    Have a bit more understanding Phil Perry,
    It’s not about the morality of this woman, it never was. From your gender-specific viewpoint, you don’t get it. It’s about the abuse of power that one man possessed.
    And as we all know, that’s where any real discussion of morality begins.

    • NOT about Lewinsky’s “morality”? You’ve got to be kidding!

      • Carolanne Curry

        No Susan
        Not kidding

        • Carolanne Curry is right.

          And that abuse of power that we then saw exerted directly by the Clintons in coordination with the DNP versus Monica Lewinsky we are still seeing today in 2016, a.k.a., 10+ years later.

          Only now that abuse of power by Clintons and their clique within the DNP is being used not to intimidate women who were in consensual relationships with DNP heavy weights like Bill Clinton, but instead it’s being used against women and men who have been victims of sex assault and harassment committed by DNP heavy weights and their friends.

          if the women and in some cases men complain about the relationships with the DNP/The Friend of The Clintons heavyweight, physical and administrative retaliation tactics are imposed, this has included everything from additional assaults to hacking into their credit reports and academic records.

          This was recently discovered to have been happening in NY with DNP placed judges Shirley Kornreich (wife of Ed Kornreich, partner of Proskauer Rose) and Anil Singh sitting on and steering sex assaults and harassment cases for self described Friends of Bill and Hillary Friends of Clinton Family Foundation.incuding Nicolas Dirks (former Dean at Columbia University and then former Chancellor at Berkeley).

          So as far as abuse of power by the Clintons and DNP are concerned, apparently, in regard to sexual relations, consensual and via attack, there is a problem.

  7. Forget about it.  Absolutely no interest   

  8. Oh Monica … I wish you’d fade to black and disappear. Every bit as deplorable as the entire sordid affair to begin with, is Lewinsky capitalizing on it, be it fame or fortune. Equally offensive, if not more so than the “original sin”. The woman is clearly devoid of honor by continuing to “work it”. The former president? A sexual predator.

  9. Is there anyone who did not make mistakes at 21? Is US President not the most powerful person we have? Wasn’t he the one who should have controlled the situation before getting out of hand or the 21 year old intern? Did he lie to people all over the world? Did his poll numbers rise after his behavior and lies while the Clinton machine crucified this young woman until this day? And there are those throwing stones and defending both “Bonnie and Clyde” aka Bill and Hillary? God Forbid the Clintons get back in power to abuse what is not in their favor. I already have my ticket to see this woman who survived…….many, as we know by the suicide rates today for bullying, do not!

    • Deplorable??
      What a horrible thing to say.
      She was a just a child who fell in love with her charismatic boss. She could have been (your child).
      I think she was used up and tossed aside like a paper cup.

      Watch her Ted Talk; it’s fascinating.

      And the entire point (of it all) is perhaps not to ‘judge publicly,’ especially considering how far reaching and instantaneous the platform of social media is.
      My heart breaks for her….
      Peace to you, Monica

      • Susan Shuldman

        Betsy — you are so right! Amazing to read so many comments to this story that could be considered cyber bullying. Perhaps those commenters should attend the event to learn!

        • Age 21 is not a child! Don’t be ridiculous. She caused her own problems! With that said, Bill was a total jerk in all this.

          • Carolanne Curry

            With that said, Mr Backiel joins Mr Perry….

            • It is simply impossible to reason with unreasonable people.

              • I don’t understand how age 21 has suddenly turned into childhood. She is legally an adult. She chose to act in a certain way, and it didn’t turn out very well. She is the one responsible for her actions!

          • The brain doesn’t even stop developing until age 25. So yes, 21 is a child.

            • Jack Backiel

              So from your e-mail, Mary, I can assume adulthood arrives sometime between ages 22 and 25. We’ll need to start changing our laws to treat 21 yesr olds as juveniles!

    • Kathryn,

      If you have the time and interest, please see my comment to Carolanne Curry’s comment, i.e., the Clinton’s abuse of power, more like an ‘across the upper echelons of DNP abuse of power’ continues to play out today as it did against Monica Lewinsky then, i.e., Only now, 10+ years later it’s against women and men who, unlike Monica who engaged in consensual affair with DNP heavyweight/Bill Clinton, it’s against women and men who have been victims of sex assault and harassment committed by self described Friends of The Clintons, Friends (and keynote speakers) of Clinton Family Foundation, etc.

      So if anyone thinks that the vitriol against Monica who then was only 24 years old was justified because she did have an affair with another woman’s man, think again, i.e., they are doing the same 10+ years later = this is their reaction whenever a man or woman complains about sexual relations, consensual or an attack, committed by DNP heavy weight.

  10. Well said, Betsy.
    Imagine a life being the brunt of mockery.

  11. At her age I knew better.

    • Carolanne Curry

      Really at 21, you knew better?
      In the presence of Bill Clinton?

      • Speak for yourself, Carolanne, and park your sanctimonious, holier than-thou attitude that reeks of superiority and judgement. 06880 Commentors are doing just that: commenting. As opposed to passing judgement.

        Footnote: I knew exactly what I was doing at 21. Not to mention why.

        • Susan Shuldman

          Wow Susan Hopkins — I think you have that backwards. It is appears that you are displaying the “holier than thou” attitude. Should I feel fortunate that I live in a community of people (like you) that have never made a bad decision in life? Ms. Lewinsky has had her life defined by an incident that happened over 20 years ago. Now more than ever, everything that our children do is posted online (often unknowingly and without their permission) and humiliation via cyberbullying has driven some to take their own lives. Perhaps you can learn from a person that has had her life, hopes and dreams destroyed publicly.

  12. Sylvia Robinson Corrigan

    For all matters that involve the heart, forgiveness is always in order. It is necessary for healing.

    • Sorry, but it is very difficult to forgive President Bill Clinton.
      Then again, he too bears the brunt of mockery, as he should.

  13. Nancy Rieckers

    Dan Woog hit the nail on the head! ‘Further consideration’ is a key point and Monica’s TED Talk is worth anyone’s time. Despite one’s feelings about her guilt, Monica’s commitment to social activism is impressive given the epidemic of CYBER SHAMING that now plagues our society, especially in our teen culture. Her message is one of empathy, resilience and change. How fortunate for most of us that our most embarrassing moments remain private unlike so many of our young people today who are not prepared to handle public humiliation. Kudos to the Westport Arts Center for ‘MORE Than Words’, an impressive exhibition of major contemporary works that explore the sensitive subject of “bullying through the ages” by providing expression via the visual arts and thought provoking dialogue. Thank you for your efforts to inspire a community-wide conversation toward awareness and change. Bring it on, the time is now.

  14. I can’t feel even remotely sorry for her. Any woman who gets involved with a married man gets exactly what she deserves.

    • I sort of understand your emotion but are there no limits? How about stoning under Sharia law? Deserved? Or having to wear a scarlet A on her clothes? Deserved?

      • Oh, I think her punishment was sufficient.

        • “The Price of Shame” is the title of her presentation.
          It truly is a wonder that she didn’t end her life, as so many young women have. This is her cause now. I applaud her for that.

          Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” really is a good read, as Jerry McDaid suggests… Perhaps Mr. Clinton should educate himself.

    • Bobbi Your feelings about a married man (the most powerful in the world) who allows and sneaks around all his protection with an employee his daughter’s age and then HE and his WIFE bully her for the next 20 years. Then they skip along as kids who destroyed younger kids in their school and laugh, take no responsibility and continue on bullying. How unjust!

      • Oh, of course — it was much more preferable for Donald Trump to cheat on Wife 1 with Wife 2 and Wife 2 with Wife 3 while “sleeping with some of the most beautiful women in the world.”

  15. I didn’t think this was about your opinions of Monica or Bill but about bullying. Go or don’t but anyone who can stop even 1 bully can’t be all bad.