Actress and feminist activist Lena Dunham has come under fire recently for her history of racism, for example, a tweet she posted in 2010 referring to African Americans as “rodents.”
“I’m never mad and I never feel victimized when people point out that they’ve been injured in some way by my behavior. I truly don’t feel like I deserve a certain kind of pass for my feminism or for my politics,” Dunham said during an appearance on comedian Phoebe Robinson’s WNYC podcast, Sooo Many White Guys.
“When you’re living your life in the public eye, you will fuck up and you will fall down, and the only power you have is to apologize and keep moving,” Dunham explained.
The 30-year-old actress attempted to atone, specifically, for projecting sexist thoughts onto New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when the two briefly shared a table at last year’s Met Ball.
“I’m not saying that this is in any way an excuse, [but] I move through the world feeling very awkward. It was at a table of notably beautiful women sitting there. I’m just having the experience of being a self-conscious girl around what I consider to be like a hot, desirable athlete. So that was just projecting my own insecurity,” Dunham said about falsely attributing comments to Beckham Jr. rejecting her “marshmallow”-shaped body that he did not make.
“I hadn’t understood the way that it fed into a very dark history of, you know, black men being lynched for not responding to white women in the way white women felt they were supposed to be responded to,” Dunham said, maintaining that she was simply ignorant of the implications of her actions. “I understood the minute that that was pointed out to me what the issue was. I was seeing myself as the chubby 14-year-old I am inside of myself, and not the person who is a cultural figure, who has the power to say something that could be hurtful and destructive.”
Later in the interview, Robinson, a black actress from New York City, grilled Dunham about the lack of non-white characters in the early seasons of her HBO show Girls–a raunchy coming-of-age dramedy about four privileged white girls living in the ultra-diverse Bronx.
“There was just a certain amount of ignorance,” Dunham confessed, referencing her privileged white liberal childhood. “I almost wasn’t making a choice because choice implies knowledge. At that point, to be totally frank, I didn’t have enough women of color in my life talking to me about what representation meant to them for me to even understand that my show would be seen and have that kind of power.”
To be sure, Dunham says she has learned from her mistakes and promises never to create another show about “four white girls.”
“We’re not going to make another show that has four white girls on the poster,” she said, “because now, we’ve been very deeply educated about how much representation matters.”
During the weekend, Dunham got naked, jumped in a tub of water, and took to Twitter to encourage her followers to sign up for Obamacare before the January 31 enrollment deadline:
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) January 28, 2017