Prompted by Lena Dunham’s ill-considered defense of Murray Miller, the writer and executive producer of Dunham’s “Girls,” a black female writer for Dunham’s Lenny Letter has quit the publication, accusing Dunham of being a racist.
Dunham, joined by co-showrunner Jenni Konner, had stated that the accusation of sexual assault hurled at Miller by actress Aurora Perrineau was “one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.” That triggered a great deal of anger, which led to Dunham and Konner issuing a second statement with an apology.
But on Sunday, writer Zinzi Clemmons issued her own statement on Twitter, writing that she would no longer write for Lenny Letter, and urging other writers of color to eschew writing for Dunham, whom she accused of being a racist. Clemmons began by alleging that having known Dunham since they were in college together, she witnessed Dunham’s racism first-hand. Clemmons wrote: “For all you writers who are outraged by what she did, I encourage you to do the same. Especially women of color. She cannot have our words if she doesn’t 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.”
Clemmons wrote that she has known Dunham since their college years, and they shared overlapping social circles. Clemmons noted she “avoided those people like the plague because of their racism,” adding, “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?’” She said she heard people use the “n-word,” then try to act like it was all a joke.
But this time, by taking the side of a male white writer accused of sexually assaulting a young black woman, Dunham may have stretched her leftist bona fides past the acceptable limit, even for the Left.