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The Day Monica Lewinsky
Came To ASU

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Monica Lewinsky in a photo for her 1997 U.S. government identification.
The Price Of Shame, Or The Price Of Blame? The Woman Who Helped Bill Clinton Implode His Presidency Brings Her Unique Story To Arizona State University


By Joey Hancock
Modern Times Magazine

March 23, 2015 — Around 500 students, faculty, parents and members of the community filed into the Arizona Ballroom on ASU’s Tempe campus earlier this month to hear a speech titled “The Price of Shame” from one of the most prolific names in modern political history, Monica Lewinsky.

Lewinsky is tackling a speech tour after giving a Ted Talk recently and has now taken her show on the road slightly tailoring her speech to the audience attending.

Lewinsky took the stage wearing a black and blue patterned dress after an introduction by ASU Tempe Undergraduate Student President Isaac Miller. Arriving late to the speech after getting lost in the hallways, Lewinsky had a Marco Rubio like moment with a bottle of water before launching into her 20-minute-long speech on her experiences in the White House and the events that unfolded after the scandal between herself and President Bill Clinton became public.

Opening up about the events leading to the scandal that became public, Lewinsky discussed how she felt suicidal and betrayed during the ordeal. At one point, she said her mother would make her shower with the door open and not be alone unless absolutely necessary as she feared for her life.

The events surrounding Lewinsky in 1998 were made more publicly noticeable with the introduction of the Internet, or World Wide Web as Lewinsky called it, and she said her story was the first scandal to travel around the world through online forums, emails and news websites, such as the Drudge Report.

After partially retelling the tale of her affair with the President, Lewinsky began to speak of the aftermath and made an odd comparison to the situation of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi.

Clementi was an 18-year-old student whose roommate filmed him kissing another man, and the video was passed around to other students to view. Clementi later took his own life by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge in 2010.

Lewinsky compared the shame she felt with Clementi’s story and how the power of the Internet is a dark and scary world when one begins reading blogs and comment sections.

The audience seemed to shift in their seats when Lewinsky made this comparison and one student I overheard talking about the speech said he couldn’t believe she made that leap. The student said while Lewinsky’s situation was terrible for a young woman to go through, she should never be compare her situation to the issues surrounding members of the LGBTQA community.

This is understandable. Lewinsky was 24-years-old when the scandal broke and the infamous dress became the most famous piece of clothing in history since O.J.’s glove. Lewinsky knew she shouldn’t be meddling with a married man, yet alone the President of the United States nor should she have asked people to lie for her and also lie herself on an affidavit.

Yes, Lewinsky was young and naive and Bill Clinton played just as large a role if not larger than Lewinsky did in this situation, but by comparing herself to a young man who had nothing to do with being ostracized and took his own life she stepped into a completely different territory.

She may have thought the comparison may resonate with college-aged students as she turned her speech to online bullying and shaming on the Internet and how this culture has to change.

But the comparison still makes no sense.

While what happened to Lewinsky after the scandal was terrible for a young woman, who eventually left the country to find privacy, it is interesting how after all of these years later she is still placing blame on others and technology instead of sincerely stepping up and accepting responsibility for her own actions.

Once again, Lewinsky is far from the only person to blame for the Clinton scandal, but she still exhibiting quite a bit of hypocrisy. “The Price of Shame” speech Lewinsky gave could have been easily titled, “The Price of Blame” and would have still had the same impact.
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