What was supposed to be Her Year has in fact turned out to be five-alarm disaster for Lena Dunham, the creator of HBO’s “Girls.” A year ago, closing out 2014 had to look pretty exciting to the 28 year-old. No matter how good or bad it was, her memoir would be released to guaranteed critical acclaim (she is Lena Dunham after all), there were two major Golden Globe nominations, and the publicity surrounding the 4th season premiere of “Girls” was going to be bigger than anything anyone could have ever imagined.
2014 was going to be Dunham’s breakthrough; the year she went mainstream. Along with the gushing reviews of her memoir and slavish coverage from The New York Times, there would be countless magazine covers, talk show appearances, and a thousand slathering articles obsessing over her every tweet and utterance. The entertainment media was on board. The mainstream media was on board. And at first it all went according to plan.
Things went so well there was even talk of Lena Dunham starring in a “Ghostbusters” remake. You don’t get any more mainstream than that. And you certainly don’t get any more mainstream than having a best friend forever like Taylor Swift.
Then, in three words, it all fell apart: Hypocrisy, lies, children.
Celebrities can get away with a lot of bad behavior and remain eternally popular.
Scandals involving hypocrisy, lies, and children are, however, potential career killers.
Hypocrisy: Dunham demanded people vote … then it was discovered she did not vote.
Lies: Dunham claimed in her non-fiction memoir that she had been raped in college by a campus Republican named Barry. She lied. And in the process indicted an innocent family man as her alleged rapist. Worse, Dunham and her publisher Random House stood silent for two months even after they knew the memoir had placed a cloud of suspicion over an innocent man.
While attempting to run to Dunham’s defense, Gawker tripped over itself and was forced to report their belief that Dunham’s alleged rapist is –wait for it, wait or it — a Democrat.
No one is questioning whether or not Dunham was raped. Something no one else is questioning, though, is that her behavior in this matter was breathtakingly selfish and craven.
Children: Dunham’s unnatural sexual behavior towards her much younger sister creeped everyone in America out not named Jimmy Kimmel.
Those are just the top 3. The Wrap dug up 3 more PR “disasters.”
The mainstream media desperately tried to save Dunham from herself, especially the cowardly and wildly dishonest Savannah Guthrie and Bill Simmons. But they just ended up sullying their own reputations.
In the end, the 4th season premiere of “Girls” flopped. Ratings collapsed 40%. It was the worst premiere in the show’s history. The year Lena Dunham was supposed to go mainstream ended up being the year Lena Dunham lost a huge chunk of her already small audience and went home from the Golden Globes empty-handed.
Friday, in what can only be interpreted as a last-ditch effort to stop her career death spiral, Dunham hired the most powerful crisis management firm out there.
Can the woman who inspired the hit television show “Scandal” save Lena Dunham from herself?
P.S. Our thanks to The Wrap and Hollywood Reporter for continuing to report on the details of the rape scandal honestly. If only Savannah Guthrie and Bill Simmons had that kind of integrity.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC