'The problem with Lena Dunham's apology to an alleged rape victim she tried to discredit.'

Yesterday, Lena Dunham was apologising again.

At this point, the actress is so infamous for saying she’s sorry for putting her foot in it that there’s now a parody Twitter account that generates fake apologies for her.

Lena Dunham Apologizes spits out hilarious (and sometimes all too believable) scenarios that Dunham might say sorry for next.

But there’s nothing funny about her latest apology.

Let’s back up a bit.

In November last year, The Wrap reported that actress Aurora Perrineau had filed sexual assault charges against Girls writer Murray Miller, alleging that he raped her in 2012, when she was 17 years old.

Miller denied the allegations, calling them “outrageous”.

The Mamamia Out Loud team explain what the Time’s Up movement is actually about. Post continues below…

To back his claims, Dunham and her Girls co-showrunner Jenni Konner issued a public statement.

“While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year,” the statement read. “It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed. We stand by Murray and this is all we’ll be saying about this issue.”

Later on Twitter, Dunham added: “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.”


It was an unprecedented move for a self-proclaimed feminist and #metoo activist. When the odds are stacked against victims of sexual assault and the legal system almost always works against them, believing victims is the most basic tenet of feminism.

Dunham went against this. She had “insider knowledge” of the situation that we were not privy to.

Only, yesterday she admitted, she didn’t.

She lied.

Lena Dunham has had to apologise (again). Is outrage culture out of control? Post continues below…

In an open letter published in the Hollywood reporter, Dunham apologised to Perrineau directly.

Several paragraphs into the essay, she says:

“I didn’t have the ‘insider information’ I claimed but rather blind faith in a story that kept slipping and changing and revealed itself to mean nothing at all.”

You can read the rest of the op-ed here. But this is only sentence that mattered.

Lena Dunham lied to discredit an alleged rape victim. There it is in black and white.


And yet the lead was buried. “Lena Dunham: my apology to Aurora” was The Hollywood Reporter’s headline.

On Twitter, the Editorial Director of the publication, Matthew Belloni applauded her for the “powerful and soul-searching” missive.

Dunham herself called the lie her “greatest moment of evolution and education.”

With every mistake, every gaffe, Dunham assures us that has learned something, that she has grown.

But there is nothing heartfelt about this apology. It is public, performative and self-serving. An editor’s letter in a magazine; another career milestone.

According to The Wrap, in August, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the sexual assault case against Murray Miller, citing the expired statute of limitations and for “inconsistencies which cannot be overcome” based on the evidence presented.

We cannot purport to know exactly what that means. Unlike Dunham, we don’t claim to be privy to anything other than what we have read in the newspapers and online.

But whatever the truth of the matter, the biggest problem with Lena Dunham’s apology is simply that it isn’t one.

It is an admission of guilt. A confession: she told a damaging lie and she was complicit in smearing another woman’s name. The apology isn’t the headline – the lie is.

The actress rounded off her letter with these words: “I see you, Aurora. I hear you, Aurora. I believe you, Aurora.”

Sorry, Lena. It’s too late.