- (Photo: ABC News video screenshot)
The mystery "Obamacare woman" whose photo was used on the front page of the Affordable Care Act's website has stepped forward to reveal that she was bullied online over the flaws and glitches in the website's launching.
"They have nothing else to do but hide behind the computer. They're cyberbullying," the woman, identified only as Adriana, said in an interview with ABC News' Amy Robach, published on Wednesday.
"I'm here to stand up for myself and defend myself and let people know the truth," she added.
A photo of the woman smiling was used when the Obamacare website launched on Oct. 1, but after several glitches and faults led to mass criticism of the initiative, the image was removed by the end of the month.
"The woman featured on the website signed a release for us to use the photo, but to protect her privacy, we will not share her personal or contact info with anyone," a rep from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, said at the time.
Adriana revealed in the ABC interview that she was never actually paid for having her photo used for the Obamacare website; she simply had photos of her and her family taken and allowed the photos to be used to market the new health care law. She found out over the summer that her image was going to be featured on the site's front page.
"I mean, I don't know why people should hate me because it's just a photo. I didn't design the website. I didn't make it fail, so I don't think they should have any reasons to hate me," she added about the negative reaction she has received over the website.
"Like I said it was shocking. It was upsetting. It was sad. We were having a hard day when we read all this."
Late-night talk shows and internet discussion had tried to guess her ethnicity and legal status in the U.S., with Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert calling her a "vaguely ethnic smiling woman." Adriana revealed that she is a Colombian with permanent resident status in the U.S., living in Maryland with her son and husband.
Adriana added that it was a "relief" when her photo was taken down from the website two weeks ago, and noted that she is looking to move forward with her life and even laugh about the situation.
"They took the picture down. I wanted the picture down, and they wanted the picture down. I don't think anybody wanted to focus on the picture."
As the government is hoping that technical issues with the Health Care website will be fixed by the end of November, former President Bill Clinton has said that the law needs to be changed to reflect President Barack Obama's earlier promise to let Americans keep their current health care policies.
"I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, that the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got," Clinton said in an interview on Tuesday.