The personal humiliation of Monica Lewinsky became a public phrase that she had to endure in the spotlight.
The former White House intern spoke to John Oliver about “the avalanche of pain and humiliation” he experienced about his affair with then President Bill Clinton.
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Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” program featured a special segment on public embarrassment. The special, which aired on Sunday, featured an interview with Lewinsky, 45, about the high-profile scandal that rocked Washington, DC in the 1990s.
Lewinsky was 21 years old and graduated from the university in Los Angeles when she started working at the White House as an unpaid intern in July 1995. She previously revealed that between August and October of that year, she and Clinton shared a series of “Encuentros” flirtatious. ” However, things intensified in November 1995, during the closure of the federal government.
After the story broke, Clinton publicly denied the allegations and declared: “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
On December 19, 1998, the House voted to challenge Clinton for lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. On February 12, 1999, the Senate acquitted Clinton, who would end her term.
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While Lewinsky was trying to move on, the press still ridiculed her.
“You were on the receiving end of one of the worst public embarrassments fed by the Internet of all time,” said Oliver, 41. “How the hell did you get over that?”
“I really do not know,” admitted Lewinsky. “It was a storm — s.”
“At age 24, it was very difficult to maintain a bit of dignity or self-esteem when you know, you are the target of so many jokes.”
Lewinsky noted that in addition to the “shame of the whores,” it was the innumerable comments about her appearance that annoyed her emotionally.
“Part of my vanity now comes from the wounds of being cheated of my weight, people say it was not attractive,” Lewinsky said. “It was scary not only because I was observing myself, or this version of myself, fleeing from me, but to my identity; my identity was stolen in a different way.
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“I do not mean that I did not have defects and that I did not make terrible mistakes or do stupid things or say nonsense because, of course, I did … But it’s not like I’m this perfect angel, right? But I saw this kind of deconstruction of me, and the reconstruction of me. ”
Lewinsky shared that she was so fiercely ridiculed by the press that it cost her to find work.
“It was interesting because I went to graduate school in 2005 and graduated in 2006 and thought, ‘Well, now I will start my life, now I will leave Monica Lewinsky behind me and I will become such and such an employee,’ explained Lewinsky. .
“And when I could not find a job, you know someone offered me a job for the wrong reasons, like ‘Oh, you’ll come to our events, that’s your job, and there are media out there’, or people who say to me, like: “Well, could I get a letter of indemnity from the Clintons? Because we trust the government money and Hillary could be president.” So there was a great variety of not being able to support myself and also having a purpose, which is equally important to feel that it is important in some way. ”
Despite all the obstacles Lewinsky endured after his relationship with Clinton, he never considered changing his name.
“There were several reasons why I did not do it,” Lewinsky said. “I mean, first of all, I do not think it really worked, but I think it was also a beginning in the sense that Bill Clinton did not have to change his name.” Nobody ever asked him, did he think he should change his name?
“And then, I think that was an important statement, I’m not proud of all the decisions I’ve made in my life, but I’m proud of the person I am, I’m not ashamed of who I am and I think that, despite the difficult that it has been to have that last name sometimes and the pain that I feel for what it means for the other people of my family that have that last name, I am glad of not having changed it “.
Oliver told Lewinsky that he, along with many comedians, have regretted making jokes at Lewinsky’s expense. He specifically pointed out that the former host of the night, Jay Leno, seemed to be the most implacable.