Writer Zinzi Clemmons announced she is walking away from Lena Dunham’s online publication Lenny Letter citing Dunham’s “well-known racism.” She said Dunham’s recent reaction to sexual assault accusations pushed her over the edge.
Girls writer and executive producer Murray Miller was accused of sexual assault by actress Aurora Perrineau, who starred on Girls. Perrineau filed a complaint about the incident, which she said happened when she was just 17, with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, The Wrap reports. Miller is white and Perrineau is a person of color.
Dunham and Girls producer Jenni Konner issued a statement supporting Miller on Friday.
“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,” the two say. “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% 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.”
“We regret this decision with every fiber of our being,” they wrote.
Miller’s attorney, Matthew Walerstein, told The Wrap his client “categorically and vehemently denies Ms. Perrineau’s outrageous claims.”
Clemmons said she has known Dunham since college and alleges she was always racist.
“Back in college, I avoided these people like the plague because of their well-known racism. I’d call their strain ‘hipster racism’, which typically uses sarcasm as a cover, and in the end, it looks a lot like gaslighting– ‘It’s just a joke. Why are you overreacting?’ is a common response to a lot of these statements. In Lena’s circle, there was a girl who was known to use the N word in conversation in order to be provocative, and if she was ever called on it, she would say ‘it’s just a joke.’”
After Dunham’s reaction to Perrineau’s claims, Clemmons said she has had enough.
“As a result of Lena Dunham’s statements, I have decided that I will no longer write for Lenny Letter. For all you writers who are outraged about what she did, I encourage you to do the same. Especially women of color.”
Dunham has not responded to the racism allegations.
[Photo: Instagram, Getty Images]