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Lena Dunham criticised for defending friend accused of rape

In August she wrote on Twitter that ‘women don't lie about rape’, but now Murray Miller has been accused she's changed her stance

Lena Dunham is trending on Twitter again for all the wrong reasons. 

After it came to light that Girls writer Murray Miller was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in 2012, Dunham released a statement yesterday (November 17) alongside co-showrunner Jenni Konner, which said that despite it being a “hugely important time of change” in Hollywood, culture was “taking down the wrong target” in this instance.

“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.”

Back in September, actor Aurora Perrineau, known for her role as Shana in Jem and the Holograms, filed a police report accusing Miller of rape. 

The Wrap obtained the results of a polygraph (lie detector) test which Perrineau said she passed in September in which she detailed her accusations.

In her statement for the polygraph she said that she met Miller while out with some friends.

“He was flirting with me. I told him repeatedly that I was 17 years old,” Perrineau said in the statement. It went on: “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.”

Miller's attorney Matthew B. Walerstein denied the allegation. “Mr. Miller categorically and vehemently denies Ms. Perrineau’s outrageous claims,” reads the statement. “Mr. Miller looks forward to sharing all evidence and information with any and all authorities seeking the truth in this matter.”

Dunham's joint statement in support of Miller has been met with virulent criticism across the board. 

“In today’s ‘some white feminists ain’t shit’ news, Lena Dunham has proven once again that she’s a hot flaming garbage barge of trash, after defending a male writer on her defunct HBO series Girls, when it came to accusations that he raped a 17-year-old actress,” reads an article titled ‘Lena Dunham Is Trash’ on African-American online magazine, The Root

BBC journalist Megha Mohan pointed out the irony in Dunham's contradicting statement. In August 2017 she tweeted that “women don't lie about rape”, which seems to contradict her current stance.

What is also causing people ire is that Aurora Perrineau is a woman of colour. Her father is Harold Perrineau, a black actor best known for Michael Dawson in the US television series Lost

Writing in The Independent, journalist Biba Khan pointed out that women of colour's voices have been maligned in the windfall of sexual assault cases that have come out of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

“Overwhelmingly, the non-white women who have made accusations of sexual assault are still being contradicted, pilloried and not believed. Of the dozens and dozens of victims who came out against Harvey Weinstein, Lupita Nyong’o was the only one of the 79 women who Weinstein took the time to deny the allegations of, saying that he remembered a ‘different version of events’,” she wrote.

Dunham has been accused of racial insensitivity in the past, not only because Girls failed to feature more than a handful of people of colour, but also thanks to her clumsy podcast episode, on which she accused Odell Beckham Junior of being more interested in looking at his phone than speaking to her at the Met Gala.

But while Dunham's hypocrisy is arguably astounding, we shouldn't forget that it is Miller who should be viewed with suspicion. Only around 2 to 10 per cent of rape accusations are false.