Lena Dunham sorry for publicly supporting friend accused of rape

'Girls' creator said she now understands it was the 'wrong time' to make a statement supporting writer/producer Murray Miller

Roisin O'Connor
Sunday 19 November 2017 11:07
Jenni Konner (left) and Lena Dunham have apologised after speaking out in support of writer Murray Miller, who is accused of raping an actress when she was 17
Jenni Konner (left) and Lena Dunham have apologised after speaking out in support of writer Murray Miller, who is accused of raping an actress when she was 17

Lena Dunham has issued an apology after coming out in support of a friend and former colleague accused of rape.

Murray Miller, a writer for Dunham’s hit TV drama Girls, is accused of raping actress Aurora Perrineau when she was 17-years-old.

Miller’s attorney, Matthew Walerstein, said he “categorically and vehemently denies Perrineau’s outrageous claims” and said his legal team had “gathered overwhelming evidence directly contradicting these false and offensive claims”.

She was also accused of “seeking monetary damages from him [Miller]” and accused of going to police after those demands were rebuffed.

Perrineau’s mother vehemently denied that anyone from her legal team or family had asked for monetary damages.

“There was never a demand for money ever made from anyone on behalf of Aurora or our family,” she said.

Aurora Perrineau claims she was raped by writer and producer Murray Miller when she was 17. Miller ‘categorically denies’ the accusation

Aurora Perrineau, daughter of acclaimed actor Harold Perrineau, told The Wrap: “I filed a police report today. I cannot talk about the investigation that is happening currently.”

The now 23-year-old said in her statement to police that she met Miller while out with some friends at a hotel, where she “consumed some alcoholic beverages”.

“He was flirting with me. I told him repeatedly that I was 17 years old,” she said in the statement.

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Perrineau and her friends allegedly accompanied Miller, who was 35 at the time, to his home “because he was drunk” and needed a ride.

“At some point, I woke up in Murray’s bed naked. He was on top of me having sexual intercourse with me. At no time did I consent to any sexual contact with Murray,” she said in the statement.

Girls showrunners Dunham and Jenni Konner issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter after the allegations emerged, in which they declared the importance of women speaking out over sexual assault, yet assigned Perrineau’s claim to “the 3 per cent of assault cases that are misreported every year”.

“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,” they said in the joint statement.​

“It’s a hugely important time of change and, like every feminist in Hollywood and beyond, we celebrate. 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 per cent 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.”

Their statement prompted a huge backlash due to Dunham’s stance as a feminist, which has included tweets, statements and articles on the importance of believing women’s claims of sexual assault.

She has since issued a statement, in which she said she and Konner regretted their decision to comment on the allegations.

“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,” a post on her Twitter read.

“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 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 have been given the gift of powerful voices and by speaking out we were putting our thumb on the scale and it was wrong. We regret this decision with every fibre 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 feminist should be required to hear her. Under patriarchy, ‘I believe you’ is essential. Until we are all believed, none of us are believed. We apologise to any women who have been disappointed.”

A West Hollywood Sheriff’s office spokesperson confirmed their office took Perrineau’s statement on 17 November and said it would be referred to the LAPD.

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