Lena Dunham has fallen from her queen of feminism throne and landed on her head.
The actress and creator of HBO’s “Girls” defended her friend and “Girls” writer Murray Miller after a black actress accused him of rape, and the backlash has been fierce.
And despite an apology on Saturday, hours after Dunham issued her statement defending Miller and accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being raped by him, Zinzi Clemmons, a writer for Dunham’s “Lenny Letter,” took to social media to chastise her former boss and quit writing for her.
“For all you writers who are outraged about what she did, I encourage you to do the same. Especially women of color. She cannot have our words if she cannot respect us. To eliminate any doubt, I know exactly who Lena Dunham is–who she was before she was famous–and have for years, and I will tell you,” she wrote on Facebook.
She and I ran in the same circles in college. Jemima Kirke was in my year at RISD while I was at Brown. We had many mutual acquaintances and still do. Most of these acquaintances were like Lena–wealthy, with parents who are influential in the art world. They had a lot of power and seemed to get off on simultaneously wielding it and denying it.
Back in college, I avoided those people like the plague because of their well-known racism. I’d call their strain “hipster racism”, which typically uses sarcasm as a cover , and in the end, it looks a lot like gaslighting–“It’s just a joke. Why are you overreacting?” Is a common response to these kinds of statements. In Lena’s circle, there was a girl who was known to use the N word in conversation in order to be provocative, and if she was ever called on it, she would say “it’s just a joke”. I was often in the same room with her, but I never spoke to her, only watched her from afar in anxiety and horror.
I have been overcome by emotion since reading Aurora Perrineau’s account because of its similarity to an incident that happened when I was in college. One of my best friends was victimized in almost the exact same way by someone in Lena’s circle. It was never addressed, and he continues to move in those circles and has a powerful job. My friend was going through a hard time then, and we decided not to report it or take it further because we didn’t want to expose her to more trauma, which would surely come from facing these people. I grew up middle class, with no family connections in the writing or art worlds, and my friend was from a similar background. We were powerless against them.
Dunham apologized on Saturday, but it was not enough for Clemons.
“Let’s hold Lena accountable, and to me that means sacrificing some comfort and a little bit of cash, in this moment,” she wrote.
— ? Lena Dunham ? (@lenadunham) November 19, 2017
In her apology Dunham said that she “naively believed it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation as it has transpired behind the scenes over the last few months. I now understand that it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement and I am so sorry.”
She added that “We have been given the gift of powerful voices and by speaking out we were putting our thumb on the scale and it was wrong. We regret this decision with every fiber to our being.”
But those words did not mean a ton to the women she offended by not believing Perrineau when it mattered.
This is a special kind of trash. It’s also part of her playbook, this mealy mouth pseudo-apology that never specifically addresses the one she harmed the most. https://t.co/R5jKqUBEEn
— April (@ReignOfApril) November 19, 2017
stop addressing feminism only when it’s convenient for you. using feminism to protect your name and your brand is not feminism. https://t.co/dezcfZyLlO
— marta (@teetsndassky) November 19, 2017
why is this woman so full of shit https://t.co/TUhMr0mt6W
— naci (@whataletdown) November 19, 2017
You refute a woman of color’s rape, you make assumptions about black men, you molest your little sister, you constantly spew ignorant shit like you wish you had experienced an abortion — bitch, you ARE the patriarchy. https://t.co/NGMBdTzUNh
— Cynthia Kao (@CynthKao) November 19, 2017
So Lena Dunham made a huge ‘apology’ for her ‘naive’ comments standing by her friend over sexual assault claims – without even mentioning the victim’s name. It’s Aurora Perrineau. Pathetic. https://t.co/hPJQ544j2R
— Rishma Dosani (@Rishma_Dosani) November 19, 2017
A perfect example of saying sorry just to say sorry. Too late..colors have been shown, babe.
— Haley Ramm (@halesbells) November 19, 2017
Lena, what’s her name again? The woman you disparaged?
Her name is missing from this.
— Kelly Wickham Hurst (@mochamomma) November 19, 2017
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