Judd Apatow Defends Lena Dunham After She Supported Girls Writer Accused of Rape
“Lena is the greatest person I have ever met. She fights so hard for so many important causes. She really sticks her neck out," Girls executive producer Judd Apatow told The Hollywood Reporter
Judd Apatow is coming to the defense of collaborator Lena Dunham, who faced criticism last month after she controversially defended Girls writer Murray Miller, who was accused of sexual assault.
“Lena is the greatest person I have ever met. She fights so hard for so many important causes. She really sticks her neck out. She cares about people. She started this amazing Lenny newsletter, which has created a platform for all sorts of different women to speak and be heard,” Girls executive producer Apatow told The Hollywood Reporter Dec. 3.
Added Apatow, 50: “We’re all kind of trying to figure out how to navigate this best. It affects all of our lives and touches all of our lives in all different ways. She apologized for speaking too quickly, but I think many of us are in that situation. And I think overall she is one of the great people in our business fighting for very important causes. And I appreciate that.”
Last month, Dunham came under fire after she initially defended Miller, who was accused by actress Aurora Perrineau of sexually assaulting her in 2011 when she was 17 years old.
Perrineau, daughter of Lost star Harold Perrineau, filed a complaint about the alleged attack with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, according to The Wrap, which first reported the news. The 23-year-old claimed that she was 17 when she met Miller at L.A.’s Standard Hotel with friends. Admitting she “consumed some alcoholic beverages,” she alleged Miller, then 35, asked them for a ride home, where they all went inside, reluctantly on her part, after arriving.
In her statement for a polygraph test taken in September, she claimed she awoke naked in his bed, where he was allegedly “having sexual intercourse with me,” against her consent.
Dunham and Girls co-creator Jenni Konner issued a statement supporting Miller and insinuating that Perrineau “misreported” her alleged rape. “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,” the pair said at the time. “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.”
Dunham, 31, was almost immediately criticized by people online for her response, which they saw as hypocritical given her outspoken feminist stance and support for victims of sexual assault.
After she came under intense scrutiny online, Dunham issued an apology on Twitter.
“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,” Dunham tweeted. “Therefore I never thought I would issue a statement publically 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,” she said. “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 fiber to 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,” Dunham wrote. “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 apologize to any woman who have been disappointed.”
On Thursday, Miller’s attorneys retracted a previous statement in which they claimed Perrineau had previously demanded money from the Girls writer.
“In a previous statement to media, we stated that Ms. Perrineau sought substantial monetary damages from our client Murray Miller. Neither Ms. Perrineau nor her attorneys have ever made a demand for money,” Murray Miller’s attorneys, Donald Walerstein and Matthew Walerstein, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “Our previous above statement was incorrect and the result of a good-faith misunderstanding.”