Years after her humiliation made headlines, after she became a punchline for late night talk shows, Monica Lewinsky was left with a question:
“How do I find and give a purpose to my past?” she wrote in a 2014 Vanity Fair piece.
That article saw Lewinsky — who was a 22-year-old White House intern when she had an affair with President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s — reemerge into the public spotlight after years in relative seclusion.
The answer, she found, was to “get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”
One such public forum, the New Bedford Lyceum, will host Lewinsky at New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theatre May 15, for “A Conversation on Shame and Survival."
With a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics, Lewinsky, 46, is now an activist campaigning against online harassment, a vocal advocate in the #MeToo movement, and a Vanity Fair contributing editor.
“Lewinsky is looking for ways to use her experiences to help transform the culture of shame, as well as to let people who suffer at the hands of humiliation know that they are less alone," the Zeiterion Theatre website said of the upcoming forum. "She is an authentic voice for anyone who has been marginalized and who has struggled to be seen for his or her true self.”
In the wake of #MeToo, Lewinsky’s story, and the often merciless cultural response to it, has been examined through a different lens. In 2019, she sat with John Oliver on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” to discuss the topic of public shaming.
FX announced in 2019 that a third season of Ryan Murphy’s award-winning “American Crime Story” series would center on the Clinton impeachment. Lewinsky is one of the show’s producers, and Golden Globe best actress nominee Beanie Feldstein will star in the series as Lewinsky.
Lewinsky wrote in 2019 about working on the upcoming FX show: “People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades. In fact, it wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve been able to fully reclaim my narrative; almost 20 years later.”
For more information visit zeiterion.org/monica-lewinsky/