Today Lena Dunham’s words let down women everywhere.
The Girls’ creator was presented with an opportunity to stand up for women in Hollywood, instead she used her substantial platform to reinforce dangerous stereotypes and to help reaffirm the kind of toxic environment which has long protected sexual predators and silenced their victims.
Actress Aurora Perrineau has accused Girls writer Murray Miller of sexual assault. Perrineau has filed a report with the Los Angeles police.
Miller has since released a statement, through his attorney, denying the allegations.
“Mr. Miller categorically and vehemently denies Ms. Perrineau’s outrageous claims,” the statement begins.
“After being contacted several weeks ago by lawyers who — on Ms. Perrineau’s behalf — sought substantial monetary damages from him, Mr. Miller’s legal team gathered overwhelming evidence directly contradicting these false and offensive claims.
— Variety (@Variety) November 17, 2017
“Only after her demands for money were rebuffed did Ms. Perrineau go to the police. Mr. Miller looks forward to sharing all evidence and information with any and all authorities seeking the truth in this matter.”
But the biggest surprise in this case is Dunham’s reaction.
The Girls’ creator, along with showrunner Jenni Konner, released a statement defending Miller and claiming to have “insider knowledge” that leads them to believe the allegations are false.
Listen: With all the allegations against him, Mia Freedman and Amelia Lester discuss why Bill Clinton still gets a ‘pass’ in the post-Weinstein era? Post continues after audio…
“During the windfall of deeply necessary accusations over the last few months in Hollywood, we have been thrilled to see so many women’s voices heard and dark experiences in this industry justified,” the statement begins.
Dunham and Konner then explained they believe there is a culture of “taking down the wrong target” in times of rapid change.
“We believe, having worked closely with him for more than half a decade, that this is the case with Murray Miller,” they wrote.
“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 three percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.
“It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed.”
Dunham and Konner finished off their statement by reiterating that they would “stand by Murray”.
The public’s reaction to the statement has been swift and fierce, with many believing this kind of attitude is what stops victims from coming forward in the first place.
Of course they fucking are. Lena Dunham and her ilk are perfect examples of opportunist white feminism. She doesn’t exactly have a stellar record in confronting those within her circle. And citing false rape accusations in his defense? Disgusting. https://t.co/nXD7M5bvoD
— Melissa (@somehowfurious) November 18, 2017
lena dunham: women coming forward about sexual assault are so important this is so necessary but only if it’s about a known scumbag and not someone i know personally, please
— jor (@menopausekink) November 18, 2017
It is hard to imagine a better avatar for white liberal capitalist feminism than Dunham. Truly this is *kisses fingers* spot on for that brand. https://t.co/O8Z1hI18zn
— Tressie Mc (@tressiemcphd) November 18, 2017
Dunham’s belief that someone she’s worked with for over half a decade – and knows personally – couldn’t be a guilty of a sexual assault is exactly what’s wrong with the current beliefs system in Hollywood.
Dunham has wrongly conflated her experience, with every woman’s experience.
Every single man who has been accused over the past month has worked side-by-side with people in the industry, every single one of them has friends, family members and colleagues who would describe them as “good blokes”, that doesn’t change the possibility that they could be guilty of the crimes they’re accused of.
If Dunham was so sure there is enough evidence to clear her friend’s name, all she had to do was let law enforcement officials do their job.
She did not need to cast another woman as a liar on Twitter.
In making this statement Dunham has cast doubt on Perrineau’s story and reinforced the stereotype of the money-grabbing false accuser who would jeopardise a man’s career for a payout.
In doing this, she has helped detractors cast doubt on all of the women who have shared their own stories over the past few weeks.
And perhaps most dangerously, she has reinforced the status quo of protecting the accused and silencing their alleged victims.