Lena Dunham has been forced to apologize after claiming that a sexual assault allegation leveled against friend and "Girls" co-writer Murray Miller was "one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year."
The star, who has made her name as a celebrated feminist icon, showed her true colors when confronted with choosing between believing a sexual assault accuser — something she's claimed, in the past, should be the default approach to claims of sexual assault — and protecting a trusted associate.
She chose the trusted associate — and what's more, the "Girls" star used vital statistics to claim that Miller's accuser was lying.
Dunham received a wave of backlash, not just from those closely following the sexual assault allegations roiling Hollywood's elite, but from her own feminist friends. Several women expressed their distaste with Dunham's statement, pointing out Dunham's complete failure to live by her own standards; others said they would no longer write for or associate with Dunham's pet project, the feminist e-mail zine, "Lenny Letter."
Shamed, Dunham took to Twitter to apologize in a lengthy statement.
"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. I now understand that it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement and I am so sorry," Dunham wrote.
But her full essay ultimately defends her remarks, neatly chastising the women who criticized her for failing to espouse the version of feminism Lena Dunham markets. In it, she claims she "naively" believed she could defend a friend — as if her audience failed to understand her emotional connection to the situation, and acted too harshly in literally holding her to her own standard — and then tries to curry favor among her feminist peers with a battle cry against the Patriarchy.
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. Therefore I never thought I would issue a statement publically (sic) 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. 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. We regret this decision with every fiber of our being.
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. Every person and every feminist should be required to hear her. Under patriarchy, “I believe you” is essential. Until we are all believed, none of us will be believed. We apologize to any women who have been disappointed.
The problem is, if Dunham does believe Miller was wrongly accused, she's now abrogated her friendship in favor of public support. There is nothing wrong with vocally defending a person you believe has been the victim of an injustice — but the initial statement made it clear that Dunham was using her feminist bona fides to reassure people that no one in her inner circle would ever treat women with disrespect, and that's why she felt Miller was innocent.
In Dunham's case, she used feminism as a weapon to bludgeon an accuser, and then as a convenient screen to hide behind once confronted. Everything is all in the name of "feminism," she says.