The backlash against Lena Dunham’s since-retracted message of support for a Girls writer accused of sexual assault deepened today, when a writer for Dunham’s Lenny Letter newsletter openly denounced her now-former boss. Novelist Zinzi Clemmons (author of What We Lose) posted a letter on Twitter early this morning, calling for “women of color—black women in particular—to divest from Lena Dunham.”
Clemmons’ letter notes how she initially met Dunham during their school days, describing her as a typical example of someone “who had a lot of power and seemed to get off on simultaneously wielding it and denying it.” (She also calls her out for behavior she dubbed “hipster racism.”) Clemmons goes so far as to say that one of her best friends was assaulted by someone in Dunham’s social circle, in circumstances similar to those alleged by actress Aurora Perrineau against Girls’ Murray Miller in 2012, and that Dunham’s response to that latter event was the final straw.
Dunham and her fellow showrunner on the HBO series, Jenni Konner, issued their statement of support for Miller Friday night, saying that, while they were generally supportive of the growing trend of women coming forward with reports of sexual assault, that she believed that Perrineau’s claims against Miller were false. She retracted that statement last night, after being heavily criticized for it. But it may have been too little, too late; Clemmons called the apology “a half-assed attempt to cover your ass,” and finished her letter with words of support for the black female community and a final attack on Dunham: “Let’s hold Lena accountable,” she wrote, adding, “And to me, that means sacrificing some comfort and a little bit of cash.”