Editorial: In defense of an abuser

“She cannot have our words if she cannot respect us.” This powerful sentence is a part of a twitter statement in which author Zinzi Clemmons explains why she will no longer write for Lena Dunham, accusing Dunham of “hipster racism,” and elaborates on Clemmons’s outrage at Dunham’s recent statement defending a writer on her show accused of rape.

Writer and producer of the TV show “Girls” Murray Miller was accused Nov. 17 of raping actress Aurora Perrineau in 2012 when she was 17. Miller joins a growing list of other powerful Hollywood men accused of sexual assault, with more victims coming forward everyday. Lena Dunham, self-declared feminist, instead sided with Miller and made a statement accusing Perrineau’s testimony of being a part of the “3% of assault cases that are misreported every year.”

Because of the current spotlight on abusers in areas of power, there has been worldwide support of the women and men who come forward with accusations. This new public, who are siding with the victims first, has no time for statements in defense of the abusers. Immediately, Dunham’s statement caught backlash from people such as Clemmons who called for women, specifically women of color, to stop supporting and writing for “feminists” who don’t support the intersectionality that includes them.

Transgender comedian Avery Edison released a twitter statement saying, “She is a women with power, but not my idea of a powerful women,” a message that many women have embraced as their own.

The public is tired of supporting celebrities that subscribe to an air of exclusivity. Dunham backed off her statement two days later in a twitter statement saying, “I naively believed that it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation. I now understand that it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement and I am so sorry.”

Twitter user @shonfaye writes “This is Lena Dunham’s main problem: she has acquired the unshakable idea that her perspective, no matter how ill thought out, is important and must be shared.” Dunham’s ability to apologize and rescind her words speaks to a deeper problem in which celebrities believe that they can excuse their behavior, brush it under the rug with an apology, and continue to further their problematic behavior.

Clemmons urged other writers to “hold Lena accountable,” and it is time our society followed that advice and stopped allowing celebs to backtrack, and perpetrate an attitude of carelessness. In the recent months, the culture of awareness surrounding sexual assault and harassment has taken center stage and our generation can no longer allow statements such as Dunham’s to once again become the norm.