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Lena Dunham apologises for defending friend accused of rape

Separately, Emmy-winning actor Jeffrey Tambor announced yesterday he is leaving the Amazon series Transparent.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

ACTRESS LENA DUNHAM, the creator of HBO series Girls, has apologised to fans after she backed one of her show’s male writers, who has been accused of sexual assault, and cast doubt on the claims.

Dunham – who faced serious backlash over the comments – said it was the “wrong time” to make such a statement, adding: “Every woman who comes forward deserves to be heard, fully and completely”.

Dunham drew widespread criticism over the weekend after actor Aurora Perrineau claimed Murray Miller raped her when she was 17 in 2012. Miller has “categorically and vehemently” denied the claim.

In a joint statement with Girls’ executive producer Jenni Konner, Dunham said that she stood by Miller.

“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.”

Critics pointed out that Dunham is a high-profile feminist and in August tweeted that women don’t lie about rape.

Tweet by @💎 Lena Dunham 💎 Source: 💎 Lena Dunham 💎/Twitter

The statement drew widespread backlash from across the internet, with writer Zinzi Clemmons quitting from Dunham’s feminist newsletter Lenny.

Last night, following the backlash, Dunham apologised for her comments, but not to the woman who accused Miller.

“As feminists, we live and die by our politics, and believing women is the first choice we make every single day when we wake up.

Therefore I never thought I would issue a statement publicly supporting someone accused of sexual assault, but I naively believed it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation as it has transpired behind the scenes over the last few months.

“I now understand that it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement and I am so sorry. We regret this decision with every fiber of our being.

“Every woman who comes forward deserves to be heard, fully and completely, and our relationship to the accused should not be part of the calculation anyone makes when examining her case. Every person and every feminist should be required to hear her. Under patriarchy, ‘I believe you’ is essential.

“Until we are all believed, none of us will be believed. We apologise to any women who have been disappointed.”

Transparent

Sexual Harassment The Accused Source: Richard Shotwell

Separately, Emmy-winning actor Jeffrey Tambor announced yesterday he is leaving the Amazon series Transparent after two women accused him of sexual harassment.

“Playing Maura Pfefferman on ‘Transparent’ has been one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life,” Tambor told Deadline Hollywood magazine about the transgender role.

“What has become clear over the past weeks, however, is that this is no longer the job I signed up for four years ago.”

Deadline said the show had already been considering writing off the character played by the US actor, who has also won a Golden Globe for the role, after allegations first emerged against him earlier this month.

“I’ve already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue,” Tambor said.

“Given the politicised atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to Transparent.”

Tambor has won critical acclaim for his portrayal of a transgender woman whose family is coming to terms with the transition.

The claims against him have been brought by his former assistant, transgender actress Van Barnes, and another transgender actress featured on the show, Trace Lysette.

With AFP reporting

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