Last year around this time, actress Aurora Perrineau came forward alleging that “Girls” writer Murray Miller raped her.
In a police report, filed with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Perrineau said that when she was 17-years-old, after telling the then 35-year-old writer that she was underage and wanted to go home, she “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.”
It was one of many stories about rape and sexual assault that came forth last year. What made this particular one different was that Lena Dunham, who positioned herself in photo ops for the Times Up movement and who promotes herself as an advocate for women and women’s stories, decided to release a statement defending Miller and essentially calling Perrineau a liar.
“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.”
Today, Dunham is admitting that she lied about the extent of her knowledge about the rape accusation against Miller.
In an essay titled Lena Dunham: My Apology To Aurora, published by The Hollywood Reporter, Dunham wrote:
“…I never stopped, much less stopped to consider that I might be capable of traumatizing somebody, too (the exact complaint I’ve always had about old white man artists). And so I made a terrible mistake. When someone I knew, someone I had loved as a brother, was accused, I did something inexcusable: I publicly spoke up in his defense. There are few acts I could ever regret more in this life. 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…
To Aurora: You have been on my mind and in my heart every day this year. I love you. I will always love you. I will always work to right that wrong. In that way, you have made me a better woman and a better feminist. You shouldn’t have been given that job in addition to your other burdens, but here we are, and here I am asking: How do we move forward? Not just you and I but all of us, living in the gray space between admission and vindication.
It’s painful to realize that, while I thought I was self-aware, I had actually internalized the dominant male agenda that asks us to defend it no matter what, protect it no matter what, baby it no matter what.
Something in me still feels compelled to do that job: to please, to tidy up, to shopkeep. My job now is to excavate that part of myself and to create a new cavern inside me where a candle stays lit, always safely lit, and illuminates the wall behind it where these words are written: I see you, Aurora. I hear you, Aurora. I believe you, Aurora…”
Later, during a speech, in which she was joined by Aurora’s mother, Brittany Perrineau, Dunham thanked the two women for supporting her and teaching her in the midst of their own trauma.
This really isn’t news, as we told you she was lying a year ago. Dunham never professed to be out with Perrineau and Miller the night of the alleged rape. It was clear that she was simply defending a friend and colleague at the expense of another woman’s word. And I can’t help but think that Perrineau being a Black woman played a large part in that. I doubt she would have had the audacity and gall to publicly call a White woman a liar had she come forward with similar allegations. Dunham, a survivor of sexual assaults, would have seen herself in another White woman and had enough sense to identify with her plight or at least keep her unhelpful and detracting comments to herself.
I checked out on Lena Dunham after last year’s statement. And with the occasional peek at her latest shenanigan, I’ve avoided her. But what I can’t understand is why and how, with her years in the industry, with a myriad of experiences f*cking up—especially when it comes to people of color—she somehow manages to fall in the same traps. After every mistake, Dunham assures us that she’s learned and grown and will do better. We just have yet to see it. And while some folks wait for the evidence of this self-proclaimed growth, Dunham’s words do more and more damage to the women she claims to support.