Aurora Perrineau On Having Her Allegations Of Sexual Assault Slandered By Lena Dunham: “Woman To Woman, I Just Thought That Support Would Be There”
In November of 2017, burgeoning actress Aurora Perrineau, daughter of actor Harold Perrineau, filed a police report against Murray Miller. He was a writer and executive producer on the hit HBO series Girls, and she was accusing him of sexually assaulting her years earlier, in 2012, when she was a minor. This move came just weeks after Harvey Weinstein’s misdeeds had been exposed, but plans to file a report came before his career came tumbling down (a lie detector test was taken in September 2017). And while news slowly trickled out that she had gone to police, Perrineau says she wasn’t looking to be speak out publicly or be a face in the #MeToo movement. She was just trying to face her demons head on. It was something her parents encouraged after watching her struggle emotionally a year earlier when she finally revealed to them what she had gone through. She opened up about everything to Glamour while promoting her new project, the Ava DuVernay-directed Netflix film, When They See Us, about the Central Park Five case.
“It was a very dark time. I wasn’t very good,” she said. “There was a lot of self-harm.”
She opened up to her parents first and felt a weight had been lifted.
“If I didn’t get it out, I don’t know what would have happened to me,” she said.
From there, she told the magazine she sought the help of a therapist, and afterward, started to consider going to police in L.A. She didn’t have plans to say anything publicly about it, especially not on social media.
“It was never a thing like, ‘I’m going to tell my story,'” she said. “I just wanted justice.”
After filing her report, Miller denied all claims against him. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office also decided to not bring charges against him due to both statute of limitations and “inconsistencies and the delay in reporting.” Still, Perrineau didn’t regret going to the police.
“For a long time I tried to figure out how to get my power back,” she said. “Going to the police station, filing a report—it kind of got the monkey off my back.”
However, she didn’t foresee the attack on her character that would occur, not only by Miller’s lawyer (who claimed Perrineau tried to get money from Miller before going to the police, a story they later withdrew), but also his famous friends.
Of course, those famous friends were Girls co-creators Jenni Konner and controversy lighting rod, Lena Dunham. The women issued a joint statement saying Perrineau’s report was outright false based on “insider knowledge” they had. The move was immediately panned on social media, and Dunham was back to apologizing.
“Woman to woman, I just thought that support would be there,” Perrineau said of Konner and Dunham’s decision to issue a statement. She said though, that she believed a sense of panic pushed them to do it.
“Fear for their friend or someone that they thought was their friend,” she said.
For the record, Dunham has apologized to her. Perrineau’s mother orchestrated a sit-down between both women, and when Dunham guest-edited the Hollywood Reporter‘s Women in Entertainment issue last December, she issued a hefty public apology in written form. In it, she admitted there was no “inside information” that she had that could’ve refuted Perrineau’s assault claim.
“She apologized [to me privately] and explained why she felt like she did, and I think that was a big thing for her to do,” she said. “And she publicly did the same thing because she felt like she needed to right the wrong that she had done, and in the best way that she knows how.”
However, Perrineau hasn’t heard from Konner. That would probably make the average person upset, but she would prefer that the focus be on Miller and his misdeeds.
“It’s been continuously about Jenni and Lena, and they weren’t the perpetrators,” she said. “There is still a bigger problem than them.”
“It’s hard enough to ever come [forward], but then to be a woman of color and know that there’s a very good chance that no one is going to believe you? I think it opened my eyes to that,” she added about her experience. “I’m grateful for that part of it.”