After coming under fire for defending a Girls writer accused of sexual assault, Lena Dunham has apologized for her statement of support. Entertainment Weekly reports that Dunham responded to criticism on Twitter after many accused the well-documented feminist of acting hypocritically once someone she personally knew was said to have sexually harmed a woman.
“As feminists, we live and die by our politics, and believing women is the first choice we make every single day when we wake up,” Dunham wrote. “Therefore I never thought I would issue a statement publicly supporting someone accused of sexual assault but I 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.”
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) November 19, 2017
Dunham and her Girls co-creator Jenni Konner defended writer Murray Miller earlier this week when 23-year-old actress Aurora Perrineau accused him of having sex with her against her consent when she was only 17. At the time, Dunham tweeted, “I believe in a lot of things but the first tenet of my politics is to hold up the people who have held me up, who have filled my world with love.” She and Konner also said in a statement that “this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.”
In her apology, Dunham said, “I now understand that it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement and I am so sorry. 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…Every woman who comes forward deserves to be heard, fully and completely, and our relationship to the accused should not be part of the calculation anyone makes when examining her case.”
“Under patriarchy, ‘I believe you’ is essential,” Dunham said. “Until we are all believed, none of us will be believed. We apologize to any women who have been disappointed.”
Given the circumstance that brought about her apology, many Twitter users haven’t been too accepting of Dunham’s new statement. Actress Haley Ramm, who starred with Perrineau in the ABC Family show Chasing Life, replied to Dunham’s tweet, “A perfect example of saying sorry just to say sorry. Too late…colors have been shown, babe.”
A perfect example of saying sorry just to say sorry. Too late..colors have been shown, babe.
— Haley Ramm (@halesbells) November 19, 2017
On Instagram, Ramm also called out Dunham for “tearing [Perrineau] down” and acting against her August 2017 tweet about women never lying about rape.
Oh how things can change soooo quickly. Like exhibit A. This tweet. And how I thought I liked Lena Dunham. You know who I do love and am currently worshiping for being a mega badass for speaking out? That strong woman who is my friend. Who was courageous enough to say something. Who has nothing to gain from this. Except for the “pleasure” of LD tearing her down. Last I checked, I didn’t think feminists did that. But I guess the “white feminists” like LD only have time for feminist feels if it’s in her “market place” I love you, @auroraperrineau. Damn, it’s a disappointing day to be a lady.
Others responding to Dunham’s apology also addressed the actress’s misleading displays of feminism.
when are feminists actually going to stop letting Dunham use feminism as a shield for her personal failures? Shaming victims is not feminism. Using feminism to protect your brand, is not feminism. Saying we have to unite after YOU made a mistake doesn’t help anyone
— Shannon (@captshaninspace) November 19, 2017
Honestly, it would be better if you step back, stop talking and pretending you’re a feminist. You only apologize when you’re called out and even then it rings false. Also, please stop using “we” in your abject apologies. You speak for yourself, no one else.
— Sherree Worrell (@Sherree_W) November 19, 2017
Perrineau has not yet responded to Dunham’s apology or initial statement supporting Miller.