Lena Dunham Demands Hollywood Men Speak Out Against Weinstein

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After a New York Times exposé revealed longtime Hollywood honcho Harvey Weinstein to have been hushing up decades of sexual assault accusations against him, the man was promptly fired from his own Weinstein Company. Several notable A-listers who’ve collab’d with Weinstein in the past have since spoken up condemning his alleged crimes.

Actresses including Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Glenn Close, Rose McGowan and Jessica Chastain have all spoken out against his “appalling” and “disgusting” sexual abuse history. Now, Lena Dunham, who was one of the first to respond to the Times article, has called on Hollywood’s leading men to speak up in a new Times op-ed she wrote.

 

“Ignoring bad behavior remains the signature move of men in Hollywood. I hear stories from victims themselves at a rate that feels positively dystopian,” she writes. “Last year, I was sexually harassed by a director of a show, not my own, and not on a set, and the response by the powers that be was to defend him, question the women ferociously and take ages before letting him go from the network. It was a move based less on his skill than on some ancient loyalty. It’s that kind of behavior that normalizes this abuse of power.

The accusations against Mr. Weinstein, so clearly outlined and so completely horrifying, seemed impossible to dispute or ignore. I naïvely expected that the reticence that Hollywood’s powerful men have shown, the collective refusal to take sides in he-said she-said narratives, would be crushed in the face of this open secret being revealed definitively. The reason I am zeroing in on the men is that they have the least to lose and the most power to shift the narrative, and are probably not dealing with the same level of collective and personal trauma around these allegations. But here we are, days later, waiting for Mr. Weinstein’s most powerful collaborators to say something. Anything. It wouldn’t be just a gift to the women he has victimized, but a message to the women who are watching our industry closely. They need a signal that we do not approve of the abuse of power and hatred of women that is the driving force behind this kind of behavior.”

Some, though not many, men from the industry have, indeed, spoken up. George Clooney, a longtime film collaborator of Weinstein’s, told The Daily Beast “It’s indefensible. That’s the only word you can start with. Harvey’s admitted to it, and it’s indefensible. I’ve known Harvey for 20 years. He gave me my first big break as an actor in films on From Dusk Till Dawn, he gave me my first big break as a director with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. We’ve had dinners, we’ve been on location together, we’ve had arguments. But I can tell you that I’ve never seen any of this behavior—ever.”

 

Lin-Manuel Miranda also spoke out today against the exec’s record, saying:

Lena Dunham Shares Body Positive Short Essay About ‘Glamour’ Cover Shoot

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Lena Dunham and the cast of Girls are the latest ladies to grace the cover of Glamour, looking fabulous in the latest platform party shoes from Marc Jacobs. Dunham took to Instagram to post a short body positive essay about the photoshoot and it’s importance, as while as her own personal struggle with body image and society’s reactions to the way she looks.

She begins: “Okay, here goes: throughout my teens I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was fucking funny looking. Potbelly, rabbit teeth, knock knees- I could never seem to get it right and it haunted my every move.”

Dunham continues: “I posed as the sassy confident one, secretly horrified and hurt by careless comments and hostility. Let’s get something straight: I didn’t hate what I looked like- I hated the culture that was telling me to hate it. When my career started, some people celebrated my look but always through the lens of ‘isn’t she brave? Isn’t it such a bold move to show THAT body on TV?'”

And concludes: “Today this body is on the cover of a magazine that millions of women will read, without photoshop, my thigh on full imperfect display. Whether you agree with my politics, like my show or connect to what I do, it doesn’t matter- my body isn’t fair game. No one’s is, no matter their size, color, gender identity, and there’s a place for us all in popular culture to be recognized as beautiful.”

You can read the full interview with the Girls cast at Glamour, as well as see their vibrant photoshoot. And check out Dunham’s full post below.

Okay, here goes: throughout my teens I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was fucking funny looking. Potbelly, rabbit teeth, knock knees- I could never seem to get it right and it haunted my every move. I posed as the sassy confident one, secretly horrified and hurt by careless comments and hostility. Let’s get something straight: I didn’t hate what I looked like- I hated the culture that was telling me to hate it. When my career started, some people celebrated my look but always through the lens of “isn’t she brave? Isn’t it such a bold move to show THAT body on TV?” Then there were the legions of trolls who made high school teasing look like a damned joke with the violent threats they heaped on, the sickening insults that made me ache for teen girls like me who might be reading my comments. Well, today this body is on the cover of a magazine that millions of women will read, without photoshop, my thigh on full imperfect display. Whether you agree with my politics, like my show or connect to what I do, it doesn’t matter- my body isn’t fair game. No one’s is, no matter their size, color, gender identity, and there’s a place for us all in popular culture to be recognized as beautiful. Haters are gonna have to get more intellectual and creative with their disses in 2017 because none of us are going to be scared into muumuus by faceless basement dwellers, or cruel blogs, or even our partners and friends. Thank you to the women in Hollywood (and on Instagram!) leading the way, inspiring and normalizing the female form in EVERY form, and thank you to @glamourmag for letting my cellulite do the damn thing on news stands everywhere today Love you all.

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Lena Dunham, Cynthia Erivo Team Up for ‘Sensual Pantsuit Anthem’

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Lena Dunham today released a pro-Hillary rap video produced by Funny or Die, and employed the talents of Color Purple star Cynthia Erivo and rapper Charlemagne the God to help her deliver the message to get out and vote.

In typical Dunham fashion, the writer and actress is quick to parody potential criticisms of celebrity activism: she addresses rapping unnecessarily, stripping for a cause, appropriation, and even the helpfulness of the video as a whole (“I wonder if I’m actually hurting her chances of winning?”)

“Let’s get out and vote or everybody might die,” Erivo belts at the chorus, gently declining to strip as Dunham does next to her.

Check out the full video below: 
Be sure to get out and vote November 8.

Lena Dunham Breaks Silence on Trump’s Election

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In an essay published today on Lenny Letter, Lena Dunham broke her silence about Trump’s victory. Read the full essay here.

Some highlights:

“The three hours I spent at the Javits Center Tuesday night, surrounded by campaign staffers and fellow surrogates for Hillary Clinton, are blurred and spotty. At a certain point it became clear something had gone horribly wrong. Celebrants’ faces turned. The modeling had been incorrect.”

“My experience mimics that of so many women who organized for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump, most of them not celebrities. We wanted a female president. We wanted guaranteed control over our own bodies. We wanted equal pay. That made us nasty. That made us targets.”

“It’s a privilege to be heartbroken by the system for the first time at age 30. So many people — those in the prison system, those with undocumented American relatives, those who are trans, who are queer, who are people of color, who are Muslim, who are trying to prosecute their abusers — have felt the crushing failure of the system over and over again. This is just another dark week. This isn’t surreal like a death or a bad diagnosis. This is their life.”

Wednesday was a day of mourning. Thursday, too. Hell, I’m giving us till Sunday. But then we fight. Now, more than ever, our power is in numbers and in our refusal to accept the idea that our leaders intrinsically know what’s best for us, better than the people we meet every day.”

Dunham has been a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton since the beginning of her presidential campaign, and like so many of us found herself shocked and horrified at the results of this election. But her message in Lenny is a call to arms, a demand for organized action. Just days before the election, she had released this video asking people to get out and vote:

Amy Schumer Discusses Metzger Controversy With Lena Dunham

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In today’s Lenny Letter interview, Lena Dunham puts on her journalism hat and interviews newly-bestselling author Amy Schumer. The two discussed her fresh-off-the-presses memoir, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, as well as the recent controversy surrounding Schumer, in which a (now former) writer from her show, Kurt Metzger, made less-than-supportive comments about rape allegations in the comedy community.

What happened was this: the Upright Citizens Brigade theater banned from their shows a male comic accused of raping multiple female colleagues in a since-deleted Facebook post. The statement included the phrasing: “Multiple women came forward, and after investigation, [name redacted] was permanently banned from UCB this week for raping women in the comedy community over the years.”

Metzger, responding to the ban, in an also-since-deleted Facebook post (screenshot available at The Daily Dotsaid: “Guys I have just heard some disturbing news, this guy Jiff Dilfyberg is a rapist! I know because women said it and that’s all I need!” He continued in further posts to criticize rape survivors credibility: “If you are raped by Bill Cosby you and you didn’t go to the cops I get it. You were scared etc etc. I give you credit. If a fat improv open mic kid with a fucking jew fro did it you are full of shit.”

How does Schumer fit into all this? Critics have come at her for having such a hot-headed writer on her show, even though he’s since been removed from the staff. Earlier on in the saga, Schumer tweeted:

Now, in her Lenny Letter interview, Schumer wants the whole thing to be over. To Dunham, she said:

First I was like, fuck Kurt. It’s been years that he’s been doing this. He’s one of those guys, like a lot of the guys that I’m friends with, who are degenerates. Kurt was saying this awful stuff, and in previous years, I would be like, “You’ve got to shut up.” He’d be like, “All right.” Then it would kind of go away. This time, it was just so bad. But also, why are these women treating him like he raped someone? He’s not Bill Cosby; Kurt has never raped. What he was saying was horrific, and he was being a troll. He can be an Internet troll. The fact that I had to answer for it … I was like, “Ugh, why this week?” [Jokingly:] I was like, if there’s scandals, can’t they be about me?

Read the full interview here.

Order The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo here.

Lena Dunham ‘Sickened’ by Kanye’s Orgy Video

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Lena Dunham lashed out at Kanye West today for his video for “Famous,” a track from his latest album “The Life of Pablo.” The video features several celebrities and political figures asleep in bed, presumable post-orgy.

Bodies in the video include West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, Anna Wintour, Rihanna and her abusive ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, Caitlyn Jenner, Ray J, Amber Rose, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, George W. Bush, and Taylor Swift, whom West raps about in the song.

Dunham, a friend of Swift’s, spoke on her Facebook page about her rejection of the video, and has received a mixture of support and backlash.

Said Dunham: “Let’s break it down: at the same time Brock Turner is getting off with a light tap for raping an unconscious woman and photographing her breasts for a group chat… As assaults are Periscoped across the web and girls commit suicide after being exposed in ways they never imagined… While Bill Cosby’s crimes are still being uncovered and understood as traumas for the women he assaulted but also massive bruises to our national consciousness… Now I have to see the prone, unconscious, waxy bodies of famous women, twisted like they’ve been drugged and chucked aside at a rager? It gives me such a sickening sense of disease.”

Read the full post on Facebook.

West’s video is only available for viewing through Tidal.

Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer Slam Hollywood’s Sexism Problem, and It Gets Pretty Nasty

Lena Dunham
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Photo via The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter gathered this year’s crop of Emmy-contending comedic actresses for a roundtable discussion and, sad to say, the conversation highlighted how sexism still permeates the industry.

“The way women are spoken to in social media is truly shocking. It’s how you imagine people screaming at prisoners in Guantanamo.” Lena Dunham said as she and Amy Schumer, Gina Rodriguez and more talked about the amount of rape threats and death threats they receive on Twitter.

Someone even wished Amy Schumer would get ovarian cancer.

Moving beyond the terror of internet trolls, the women touched upon the institutionalized discrimination faced in the industry. Dunham recalled how one man who worked on Girls made fun of her weight and said he hated his job because a man was not in charge. Tracee Ellis Ross, star of Black-ish, said working on a show run by four women (Girlfriends) set up false expectations of the industry.

There are hardly substantial roles for women in Hollywood, let alone roles for women of color. Michelle Rodriguez echoed this, and explained why she would never play a role to reinforce negative stereotypes. “When you compromise, you don’t do your best work.”

Feminism has emerged as a strong force in the entertainment industry as of late. Shonda Rhimes has created an incredibly successful television empire where straight, white, and male is not the default. But that doesn’t mean the struggle’s over by any means.

As comedic actors, lots of these women weaponize irony and humor in the fight (Schumer wrote a whole sketch of men arguing whether she was attractive enough to be on TV), but there are still long strides to be made with women in Hollywood.

Schumer ended with a sound resolution: “Let’s never apologize for anything.”

Check out the full interview at  The Hollywood Reporter.

Vote Audrey: Rachel Antonoff Sees the Future, and We Have Our First Female President

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Left, campaign imagery courtesy of & Other Stories; Middle and right, party photos by Shawn Brackbill

Rachel Antonoff couldn’t have known how timely her campaign-based collection for the collaboration series with & Other Stories would feel at its launch party last night.

Not even a month after Hillary Clinton’s announcement, Antonoff fêted the release of her collection (officially in stores next Thursday, May 12), Wednesday night in Soho.

“We started working on this more than a year ago at this point,” Antonoff said, “we presented them with three different umbrella themes.” But the campaign motif was the winning story. The clothes are simultaneously modern and retro-inspired–think seersucker suits and railroad striped jeans and culottes, complemented by a to-the-point tee that reads “We Try Harder,” and a crewneck sweatshirt emblazoned simply with “It’s Time.”

Watch Vote Audrey here:

Thinking back to Cecily Strong‘s request at the White House Correspondents Dinner that journalists “solemnly swear…not to talk about Hillary’s appearance… because that is not journalism,” Rachel discussed the catch-22 that is the question of what women in politics wear. “It’s such a bigger question,” she said, “I’m constantly trying to figure out that balance. It’s so difficult to feel like you want to have equal rights and you don’t want to be treated a certain way because you’re a girl–you don’t want it to be assumed that you like certain things that you like because you’re a girl–but thenthere are certain things people might assume you like because you’re a girl, that you DO like, and it actually is almost anti-feminist to turn your back on those things, just because they’re the obvious–you don’t want to seem like a typical, whatever,” she said, echoing the confusion and frustration of a double standard we often feel when asking ourselves these questions.

“When it comes to politics, either we cover what the men and the women are wearing, or we don’t cover either…That’s the only way to do it. Granted, I mean, who’s gonna give a shit about what the men are wearing, but you just have to do it,” Antonoff concluded.

As for the political women whose style inspired the capsule collection, Antonoff noted that she’d been looking at pictures of Jackie Onassis and Carolyn Besette-Kennedy. “There’s just some really great style linked to the Kennedy’s but also just Americana, or patriotism, in general. We imagined it all kind of happening in this campaign office.”

Bringing that vision to life is Lena Dunham‘s vision of it all. It’s a dreamy four minute sequence which moves from Zoe Kazan‘s hopeful but rejected neighborhood canvassing efforts to a cheerful, and more importantly, hopeful, daydream of becoming the first female president, complete with choreography and a diverse, but all female group of judge/backup dancers.

Of the video, Antonoff said, “One of the many great things about Lena, she’s pretty great at extracting exactly what you didn’t even know you wanted from somewhere inside your brain and making it real. So she wrote the script completely by herself, directed…she’s one of the only people that I feel totally comfortable handing over the reigns to, like 100%, because I’m a little bit of a control freak, but she did a perfect job and it’s exactly what we hoping for.”

Dunham chimed in on Twitter, “Soon, this film won’t be total fiction. MADAM PRESIDENT 2016.” Though Dunham’s directorial/writing skills and Kazan’s acting chops are swell, Antonoff’s cheery and optimistic clothes are the true stars.

 

RA-COLLAGE
A sampling of Antonoff’s collection which will hit stores on May 12

5 Highlights From Last Night’s GIRLS Season Finale: Declare Independence, Lean In

Adam Driver, Lena Dunham, Girls, TV
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LOOKING BACK ON SEASON 4 

It may be time for Girls to say goodbye for now, but looking back on the fourth season, it’s hard to say that it left much of an impression. Lena Dunham’s hit series began to seriously lack momentum this time around, with dramatic conflict shoehorned into all of Dunham’s pet obsessions: self-aggrandizing performance art, the lows of creative nonfiction, co-dependent relationships and antiseptic sexuality. All hot topics, to be sure, but the sense of a narrative seemingly evaporated. Remember how fast Hannah left Iowa? That entire episode about Mimi-Rose? What about Marnie’s jazz brunch gigs? Those now feel like distant memories (or dull callbacks) from the ten-week journey we’ve spent with these characters, and it’s because the show rarely hints at a world outside of its own bubble.

What once made Girls so unlike anything else on television was its defiance in never giving us the closure wanted, with a nearly anarchic subversion of any momentum its characters had going for them. It made newly trenchant observations of how petty and easily thwarted one’s ambitions can seem in a teeming, multicultural landscape like New York. But this attitude can only reinvent itself so many times without challenging the culture at large. Instead, Dunham favors her own depictions of lives marred by boredom and nostalgia, and as the world spins outside of our HBO GO accounts, her characters feel smaller and less significant the more we spend time with them. I think it may be time to meet some new friends.

Alas, here are 5 highlights from last night’s Girls finale.

RAY CHEWS DESI OUT

“Marriage is such an outmoded concept,” claims Desi to his new record producer, “but until they invent something better, this is the best way to express my devotion to Marnie.” Tired of keeping a straight face in light of his ex-lover’s recent betrothal, Ray is completely honest when Desi confronts him about any bad blood there might be between them. “I fucking hate you.” And no, it’s not the whole Pacific Northwest thing. Desi has always been an egomaniacal prick, and despite his horrible behavior, Marnie will always underestimate herself and take him back. It’s wild to see how much faith Ray still has in Marnie, and to think that he would spend his considerable ambition and intellect into keeping her happy. Love may be blind as ever, but Desi’s reaction to this takedown is to leave the episode and never come back.

SHOSHANNA LEANS IN

We finally had the gratification of watching Shoshana ace an interview for a marketing position, but there’s a twist: the job would outsource her to Tokyo. The most important question of the episode (personally speaking) became: is Jason Ritter really worth it? He implores Shosh not to take the job; to stay in New York and work for his company (the position she originally interviewed for, mind you). After all, he explains: “I’m going to be in love with you soon.” Love is conditional for the characters on Girls, but it’s a goal they’re willing to work around. She goes to Ray’s café to try and ask him for advice, but unfortunately, he’s not there. (Let’s beat the dead horse of Ray and Shosh’s relationship one more time.) Yet Ray’s migraine-fraught superior reminds Shosh of the tenets of Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller, and she makes what is clearly the right decision.

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SPIKE JONZE AND GABY HOFFMAN LAY ROTTEN EGGS

There were two guest stars this episode, both memorable for very different reasons. Spike Jonze played against his nebbishy nice-guy persona as the record label president repping Desi and Marnie’s band, giving too much personal information about his failed marriage and effectively souring any hope of Marnie and Desi’s long-term happiness (nice work!). Gaby Hoffman, fearless as usual, returned as Adam’s pregnant sister in perhaps the lengthiest nude scene in the show’s history, as Hannah and Jessa tried to get her out of the bathtub and into the hospital. The shouting match between her, Adam and her husband Laird played merely like fireworks, and the situation was a trite placeholder for Adam and Hannah’s long-overdue reconciliation.

 HANNAH REJECTS ADAM AND MOVES ON WITH HER LIFE

Looking over his sister’s newborn baby, Adam tells Hannah that it’s over with Mimi-Rose, and that he misses her. Too little, too late—she tells him he’s tired and that he’ll get over it. Ignoring his protests, it was a relief to see Hannah not give into Adam, and letting this rather played out, multiple-season-long drama end once and for all.

When Hannah calls her parents from the hospital, we find them in a negative state, with Hannah’s mom disparaging her “cowardly” husband as he sits next to her at the table. “You have your whole life ahead of you, and not to waste it on one man,” she says. But then a title card takes us six months into the future, only to find a well-adjusted Hannah with her new beau, Fran (Jake Lacy)— presumably having forgiven her crazy ways. Is this a muddled message for Girls viewers regarding the merits of monogamy, or is Dunham complicating her narrative on purpose? I’m frankly puzzled by this last bit of provocation, but I hope Dunham finds it in herself to give us a more coherent statement when she returns.