NEW YORK: Monica Lewinsky is continuing her anti-bullying work in a new campaign called #DefyTheName that asks both celebrities and the general public to embrace the worst names they’ve been called.
Timed for October, which is anti-bullying month, the social campaign will see high-profile figures, such as comedian Sarah Silverman and The Roots drummer Questlove, change their Twitter and Instagram profiles to the names they were bullied with in their youth.
The goal of the campaign is to combat the isolation bullying produces, something Lewinsky experienced during and after the investigation into her relationship with President Bill Clinton, according to Daniel Lempert, an account executive at Dini von Mueffling Communications.
Silverman is embracing her label as "the weirdo." She’s joined by Quest "super dweeb" Love and Lena "the whiny fat cunt" Dunham, and even Maysoon "crooked, gumby mouth terrorist whore bitch who looks like she was slapped upside the head with a frying pan and should probably kill herself" Zayid.
"[It’s] basically creating this incredible sense of community that fans can be part of, where they see people they admire leaning into these names they were called to show that they didn’t let bullying define who they were," Lempert said.
Following the lead of his client and the campaign’s participants, Lempert will also change his Twitter account to "Daniel Fag Lempert."
In addition, the campaign is releasing a PSA, created by Dini von Mueffling Communications and BBDO, the prolific duo that worked on Sandy Hook Promise’s Evan PSA. While von Mueffling’s firm was part of the ideation process, BBDO served as the creative lead on the video.
The PSA was released on Good Morning America on Friday to kick-start the social media campaign, with the goal of getting everyday people to participate by changing their Twitter display names (not handles) and sharing their experiences.
"Everyone remembers the worst name they were ever called; I know I do," said CEO and founder Dini "have you dived the muff yet" von Mueffling. "I think we’ll see a powerful moment."
Her firm is working closely with Twitter to allow people to change their names, von Mueffling added. In addition to the hashtag, Twitter is also rolling out a custom emoji for the campaign.
Von Mueffling said she and Lewinsky "cornered" Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at a party, where they talked about #DefyTheName. They wanted Dorsey to participate as well.
"Email me," von Mueffling recalled Dorsey saying. "Which I did. And he was positive. It’s nice when something like that happens."
"We strong-armed Twitter a little bit, but they know how important this is," she added.
#DefyTheName is also being backed by bullying support groups, including: The Amanda Todd Legacy, Anti-Bullying Alliance, The Childhood Resilience Foundation, Crisis Text Line, The Diana Award, Ditch The Label, Heart Mob, iHollaback, Project Rockit, Sit With Us, Think Before You Type, and The Tyler Clementi Foundation.
Previously, Dini von Mueffling Communications and BBDO worked together on another PSA for Lewinsky called In Real Life, a social experiment in which paid actors re-enacted online comments to see how unsuspecting strangers would react. That PSA was part of a broader campaign called #ClickWithCompassion.