"When someone I knew, someone I had loved as a brother, was accused, I did something inexcusable: I publicly spoke up in his defence"
Lena Dunham has publicly apologised to actress Aurora Perrineau for a second time for controversially speaking in defence of Girls writer Murray Miller, who was accused of sexual assault by Perrineau last year.
Dunham was on the end of a backlash in November 2017 after she and Girls showrunner Jenni Konner initially defended Miller following the publication of Perrineau’s allegations. Miller “categorically and vehemently” denied Perrineau’s allegations, describing the claims as “outrageous” in a statement issued at the time by his attorney. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced back in August that they would not be prosecuting Miller following an investigation.
The actress and Girls creator subsequently offered an apology on Twitter for defending Miller, expressing “regret” on behalf of herself and Konner for having initially supported their colleague.
In a ‘guest editor’ letter published by The Hollywood Reporter, Dunham reflected on why she had defended Miller and apologised once again to Perrineau for her decision.
Referencing the #MeToo movement, Dunham wrote: “With that progress, there have been mistakes, there has been pain. There has been a deep and gut-wrenching reckoning. And not just for men. This year has been incredible for women in Hollywood. But I know I’m not alone when I say that this year has also been hell.”
Addressing her defence of Miller, she said: “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 defence. 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. I wanted to feel my workplace and my world were safe, untouched by the outside world (a privilege in and of itself, the privilege of ignoring what hasn’t hurt you) and I claimed that safety at cost to someone else, someone very special.”
Dunham said that Perrineau had “been on my mind and in my heart every day this year”, adding: “I love you. I will always love you. I will always work to right that wrong.”
“It’s painful to realise that, while I thought I was self-aware, I had actually internalised the dominant male agenda that asks us to defend it no matter what, protect it no matter what, baby it no matter what,” she continued. “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.
“This space is yours to do with as you please, when you please. I will keep holding this space — it will always be here.”