Right Hooks

Lewinsky: 'I Was Patient Zero,' and My Affair Birthed Social Media

Oct. 22, 2014

Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Summit featured a blast from the past: Monica Lewinsky. The infamous former White House intern proudly claimed the victim mantle, telling the audience, “I was Patient Zero – the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.” And it wasn’t even high-speed Internet, she complained: “It was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial up.” In fact, her tryst practically invented social media. “There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then,” she noted. “But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which could be forwarded. … [Y]ou could argue [that] was the first moment of truly ‘social’ media.” What’s amusing is that, not only does she conspicuously avoid blaming Bill Clinton for being a sexual predator, but she seems shocked by the idea that an intern’s affair with the sitting president in the Oval Office got all that much attention.

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