The Hollywood Reporter broke news last night that Aurora Perrineau, star of The Carmichael Show, Passengers and four films currently in post production, had filed a report with the West Hollywood Police Department claiming screenwriter Murray Miller had raped her when she was 17 years old. Murray Miller’s screenwriting credits include The Tracy Morgan Show, American Dad! and Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls, on which he also served as the executive producer for two years. Lena Dunham, the feminist icon you lot keep foisting on us, didn’t miss a beat in condemning Perrineau. Along with Girls’ co-showrunner, Jenni Konner, Dunham issued a statement no one asked for, but one they felt duty bound to deliver. “….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 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.” In their statement to The Hollywood Reporter Dunham and Konner use well-chosen words and statistics to call Aurora Perrineau a liar because they have information the public do not and Miller is their friend.
According to THR, Murray Miller’s lawyers Aurora Perrineau’s lawyers attempted to extort “substantial monetary damages from him” and it was “…only after her demands for money were rebuffed did Ms. Perrineau go to the police.” Sure, if true, this sounds strange but what is more strange to me is that Aurora Perrineau, an actress of colour on the rise, with everything to lose would “misreport” rape, fabricating a story of sexual assault against a Hollywood juggernaut with the intention of achieving what exactly? There are cases in which men have been wrongly accused of rape, but as Sandra Newman writes for Quartz “since 1989, there are only 52 cases where men of accused of sexual assault were exonerated because it turned out they were falsely accused.” Newman’s research, compiled of academic studies, journalistic accounts and cases recorded in the US National Registry of Exonerations, goes on to state “almost invariably, adult false accusers who persist in pursuing charges have a previous history of bizarre fabrications or criminal fraud” whose motivations can be divided roughly into four categories “personal gain, mental illness, revenge and the need for an alibi.” With my layman’s eye accompanied by a cursory glance of Perrineau’s case, she doesn’t appear to me to fit the profile of the false accuser as Dunham and Konner insist. So why the rush to denounce her claim?
The truth is Lena Dunham’s feminism is exclusively for white women and white men. When she tweeted back in August “things women don’t lie about: rape.” she meant white women don’t lie about rape and furthermore white men don’t lie about not raping women of colour. Why else would she tweet so thoughtfully then, but today fix her Becky fingers to tweet “I believe in a lot of things but the first tenet of my politics is to hold up the people who have held me up…”? This sentiment would be all well and good if in upholding Miller, she didn’t shit all over Aurora Perrineau and expose her glaring hypocrisy. Murray Miller doesn’t need Lena Dunham’s support. Murray Miller doesn’t need Jenni Konner’s support. These two women thought so little of the wellbeing of Aurora Perrineau they weaponised their white feminism and targeted a woman who at this time requires either your support or for you to shut the entire fuck up. An opportunity to be quiet and mind her motherfucking business never passes Lena Dunham by without her failing to grasp them, and more often than not the least represented in society are the victims when her unseasoned, unfettered hot takes hit the fan.
I’ve written about Lena Dunham’s Toxic White Feminism ™ before and after being dragged countless times, I’m truly flabbergasted she hasn’t learned her lesson. Make no mistake, there will be a well worded apology delivered unto us shortly, in which she will extol the virtues of needing time to learn. The problem for Dunham is she is not a misguided, misinformed young woman like Gabby Douglas who asserted her teammate was in some way personally responsible for her abuse clearly internalising the lies of the patriarchy. Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner are self-proclaimed feminists who run a feminist website and pride themselves on being intersectional in their politics. And it is in their active participation in the dissemination of knowledge about the oppressive structures that operate within the patriarchy that we begin to fully understand how dangerously weaponised their feminism is in their statement. Two white women who publish articles on protecting survivors of sexual assault, united against a woman of colour, not as popular as either of them, in the hopes of protecting their white man friend. They worked to diminish the character and credibility of this woman, upholding the patriarchy at the cost of another woman and future women of colour who think to speak out.. Furthermore, their combined fuckery is the very reason many sexual assault victims don’t come forward. According to Beverly Engel in Psychology Today and common sense in general “Many [victims] don’t disclose because they fear they won’t be believed and until very recently that has primarily been the case. The fact that sexual misconduct is the most under-reported crime is due to a common belief that women make up these stories…”
How much more do black women and women of colour, historically sexualised as jezebels struggle to report their abuse? How much harder is it for black women and women of colour in Hollywood to report their abuser knowing white women like Dunham and Konner will stand up for their white men friends at the cost of women systemically and societally less privileged than them? Biba Kang’s must-read op-ed in the Independent explains “Women like Dunham who have so vehemently supported the exposure of sexual harassment in the media, change course when the victims of this culture are non-white…” going on to conclude “This is a watershed moment for white women, but for women of colour, the situation is as dire and as dangerous as it alwas has been.”
In Uma Thurman we have a recent example of a good way to be respectful when asked to make statements about the wave of sexual abuse scandals rocking the industry, her response juxtaposes Dunham and Konner’s rush to exert their power as trusted white women in Hollywood over a relatively new face. While we wait to know more about the case, white women, do better. Extend the same curtesy and care to women who do not have the same access and reach as you. Think beyond your own desires and be honest about the function of your feminism; who does it serve? All women, or only those who look like you?
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