Earlier this week, Lena Dunham faced fierce backlash after she and her fellow Girls’ showrunner, Jenni Konner, issued a statement publicly supporting their friend who had been accused of rape.
In the controversial statement, Lena and Jenni speculate that the woman accusing Murray Miller, a writer for Girls, was lying, writing that the incident was one of “3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year”.
Now Lena has been forced to issue an apology, admitting that she and Jenni regretted their decision to speak out on the allegations – especially after Lena’s followers resurfaced the actress’ previous tweets that reinforced the importance of believing all women who speak out on rape and sexual assault.
Posting on Twitter last night, Lena apologised for her initial response to Murray’s alleged victim, writing: “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,” a post on her Twitter read.
“Therefore I never thought I would issue a statement publically supporting someone accused of sexual assault, but I naively believed it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation as it 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 feminist should be required to hear her. Under patriarchy, ‘I believe you’ is essential. Until we are all believed, none of us are believed. We apologize to any women who have been disappointed. [SIC]”
Actress Aurora Perrineau has accused Murray of raping her when she was 17 years old, six years ago.
Speaking in her police statement, Aurora says that she met Murray while out with some friends at a hotel, where she admits to consuming “some alcoholic beverages”.
She continues: “He was flirting with me. I told him repeatedly that I was 17 years old.”
Aurora and her friends then accompanied Murray, then 35, to his home because he was intoxicated and needed a ride, with Aurora alleging in her statement: “At some point, I woke up in Murray’s bed naked.
“He was on top of me having sexual intercourse with me. At no time did I consent to any sexual contact with Murray.”
Murray has said that he “categorically and vehemently denies Ms. Perrineau’s outrageous claims”, with his lawyer, Matthew Walerstein, adding that his legal team have “gathered overwhelming evidence directly contradicting these false and offensive claims”.
Releasing a statement soon after the accusations came to light, Lena and Jenni said in a joint statement: “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.
“It’s a hugely important time of change and, like every feminist in Hollywood and beyond, we celebrate. But during every time of change there are also incidences of the culture, in its enthusiasm and zeal, taking down the wrong targets.
“We believe, having worked closely with him for more than half a decade, that this is the case with Murray Miller.
“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.
“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.”
Needless to say, Lena’s followers were angered by the response, taking to social media to share their outrage:
Lena Dunham doesn't believe her white male friend raped her black female costar? Color me shocked. Almost like white feminism is really only about uplifting and supporting white women as they pursue their ultimate capitalistic goals of sharing the role with men as oppressors.
— Merry Katmas (@kat_blaque) November 18, 2017
Me during every Lena Dunham apology: pic.twitter.com/AxGjipQYiQ
— freddie ransome (@Ransome_Note) November 19, 2017
I feel like people just assume Lena Dunham is a feminist because she's a successful metropolitan white cis woman who doesn't fit traditional beauty standards.
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) November 18, 2017
im sorry but can lena dunham just pic.twitter.com/plRVAcGRYb
— Orion Carloto (@orionnichole) November 19, 2017
A spokesman for West Hollywood Sheriff’s office has confirmed that they took Aurora’s statement on 17 November and that it will be referred to the Los Angeles Police Department.