(by Kevin Cirilli, The Hill) -- Monica Lewinsky is back — and this time she has a cause.
The woman who became a punch line for sexual encounters with Bill Clinton is returning to the spotlight after more than a decade, hoping to become an advocate for ending bullying online.
While her speech on the topic in Philadelphia drew a standing ovation, it remains to be seen whether Lewinsky can escape her past — and the politics of being “that woman” — to help end what she calls a “culture of humiliation.”
Vanity Fair, which hired Lewinsky as a contributor, said the response to her first foray into public advocacy has been “very positive.”
"Even [liberal comedian] Bill Maher said, 'I was very moved by it,'" said Vanity Fair spokeswoman Beth Kseniak.
Lewinsky, who declined comment through a representative, said one of the “principal reasons” she decided to break her silence was the 2010 death of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student who committed suicide after intimate pictures of him were posted online to humiliate him and "expose" him as being gay.
"While it touched us both, my mother was unusually upset by the story and I wondered why," Lewinsky said in her speech. "Eventually it dawned on me: she was back in 1998, back to a time when I was periodically suicidal; when she might very easily have lost me; when I, too, might have been humiliated to death."
Lewinsky specifically mentioned The Tyler Clementi Foundation in her speech, providing a boom of publicity for the organization that his parents started.
"We're very appreciative she'd mention our foundation and our work," Clementi's mother Jane said in an interview with The Hill.
Jane Clementi said a "mutual friend" introduced her to Lewinsky after her first Vanity Fair column, and the two discussed her son.
"She shared with us how Tyler's story impacted her and her mom," Clementi said.
Some advocates say they do not want Lewinsky to become the face of the anti-bullying movement.
StopCyberbullying founder Parry Aftab said Lewinsky's involvement would "set back" their efforts.
"I find it a bit insulting to the people who have been cyber bullied to have Monica Lewinsky step out and say she's the poster-child for cyber bullying," said Aftab, whose nonprofit is organized in 76 countries and began in 1995.
Aftab said that Lewinsky's baggage would take attention away from the main issue.
"Look at her interviews — it's all about Monica," Aftab said. "She's setting us back years. She doesn't know what she's talking about."