'Girls' star says she raised concern with Clinton's camp last year
Lena Dunham has said that she warned Hillary Clinton’s election campaign team last year about sexual assault allegations surrounding Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein has been at the centre of a criminal investigation since late October, after an extensive outpouring of allegations including rape and sexual assault from women in both America and the UK. He “unequivocally denies” any allegations of non-consensual sex.
Now, a New York Times report details how Weinstein allegedly attempted to silence accusers and, at one point, it is revealed that Girls creator and star Dunham claims to have previously told Clinton campaign deputy communications director Kristina Schake of her reservations about Weinstein.
Weeks before the 2016 US election, Weinstein organised a fundraiser for Clinton, in which Dunham participated alongside stars such as Hugh Jackman and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Following the initial news of the accusations against Weinstein, Clinton told CNN that she was “shocked” and “appalled” by the allegations and said that they represented “a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past.”
Dunham claims she told Schake that “Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” saying that she thought it was “a really bad idea for him to host fundraisers and be involved because it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault.”
The actress and author says Schake told her she would share the information with Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and that she also expressed her concerns to Clinton spokesperson Adrienne Elrod.
Both Schake and Elrod deny that Dunham mentioned rape and Mook says that he was never informed of any prior concerns about Weinstein.
Nick Merrill, Clinton’s communications director, says in a statement: “We were shocked when we learned what [Weinstein had] done. It’s despicable behaviour, and the women that have come forward have shown enormous courage. As to claims about a warning, that’s something staff wouldn’t forget.”
Addressing Dunham’s claims, Merrill adds: “Only she can answer why she would tell them instead of those who could stop him.”
Last month saw Dunham herself forced to issue an apology after defending a Girls writer accused of rape.
- For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.