‘I was patient zero of losing a personal reputation’: Monica Lewinsky will be speaking at the IMU tonight

“The Price of Shame,” Monica Lewinsky

Iowa Memorial Union (Main Lounge) — Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Still from Monica Lewinsky’s “The Price of Shame” TED Talk.

Monica Lewinsky was 24 years old was she suddenly became internationally famous in January 1998. In a 2015 TED Talk, Lewinsky described what it was like when the news broke that she, a White House intern, had been having an affair with President Bill Clinton.

“What that meant for me personally was that overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide,” Lewinsky said. “I was patient zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.”

Lewinsky is bringing a version of her TED Talk, “The Price of Shame,” to the Iowa Memorial Union on Tuesday. The speech is sponsored by the University of Iowa Lecture Committee.

In recent years, Lewinsky has used her unique fame and experiences to draw attention to the problems of cyberbullying and online harassment, and that is the focus of “The Price of Shame.”

Lewinsky noted in the 2015 version of her speech that before the rise of social media the sort of public shaming she experienced was relatively rare. “The landscape has sadly become much more populated with instances like mine, whether or not someone actually make a mistake, and now it’s for both public and private people,” she said.

Cruelty to others is nothing new, but online, technologically enhanced shaming is amplified, uncontained and permanently accessible. The echo of embarrassment used to extend only as far as your family, village, school or community, but now it’s the online community too. Millions of people, often anonymously, can stab you with their words, and that’s a lot of pain, and there are no perimeters around how many people can publicly observe you and put you in a public stockade. There is a very personal price to public humiliation, and the growth of the internet has jacked up that price.

In her speech, Lewinsky advocated a “return to a long-held value of compassion — compassion and empathy.” She said, “Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop, and it’s time for an intervention on the internet and in our culture.”

Lewinsky’s speech will be in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Admission is free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.


  1. Should be an amazing event! Monica is a dedicated advocate – who genuinely cares about others. She also wrote the foreword to my latest book Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate that helps people survive, prevent and overcome digital hate. Learn more at Thanks so much to Monica Lewinsky. She’s amazing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene


Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.


Scattergood Friends Middle School Meet & Greet

Come and visit us at the Iowa City Holiday Farmers Market and the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center on Saturday, November 16.

Learn More
Event Details

Iowa City Farmers Market
November 16
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Rec Center

Little Village
2019 Give Guide

Get to know some of the nonprofits helping to make the CRANDIC a better place to live.