Nearly one in three American students in grades 6–12 have experienced bullying. And that bullying, a study in the journal Pediatrics estimated, causes 1 in 5 teen suicides. It’s an experience that’s all too real for young people around the country, but it’s also one that can be carried long into adulthood. And perhaps nobody knows that reality better than Monica Lewinsky and her plethora of A-list friends.
Lewinsky, now a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, kicked off the anti-bullying campaign, #DefyTheName in October with a PSA featuring Andy Cohen, Lena Dunham, and Kelly Rippa. The goal? Take the power out of name-calling and the discuss the damage it can cause. And though the campaign officially ended, it’s made a massive impact, reaching more than 1 billion media impressions and growing, the campaign tells Glamour.
“It’s been extraordinary to see the snowball effect of people bravely stepping up to participate in this campaign—whether they changed their names on social media, mentioned the names they had been called in their posts or shared the PSA,” Lewinsky shared in a statement with Glamour.
And it didn’t stop at the video. Throughout the month, celebrities came out in droves to support the cause by changing their handles on their social media to include the names they’ve been called.
Lewinsky herself kicked things off by changing her own handle to “Monica Big Mac Ditzy Bimbo That Woman Lewinsky.”
Stacey London, host of What Not To Wear, added in her own with “Stacy “Uglier than Elephant Man” London.”
Olivia Munn jumped in with “Olivia The New Girl In School No One Likes Munn.”
QuestLove shared his with “Quest Superdweeb Love.”
Rachel Bloom added in hers with, “Rachel Weird Loser Who Needs A Bra Bloom.”
And Alan Cumming added in his own, defying the name, “Alan Useless Cumming.”
Lewinsky is no stranger to name-calling—following the national scandal involving then-President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago, Lewinsky became a target. Today, she still deals with the aftermath of what she calls a “traumatic” experience.
“For some people, [the campaign] was even the first time they had ever talked about the pain of having been bullied with name-calling. I’m incredibly grateful the campaign was healing for many—that’s exactly what I had hoped for,” Lewinsky says. “We don’t have to let the words other people choose to call us, define who we are or how we see ourselves.”