Lena Dunham makes her first public outing since controversy: will she survive?


Here are some photos of Lena Dunham at last night’s 24th Annual Literary Awards Festival at PEN Center USA. She and Judd Apatow actually won an award for an episode of Girls. This was Lena’s first public outing since all of the crap went down more than a week ago – go here to recap. Conservative sites – and then ALL media outlets – were discussing whether Lena had molested her younger sister Grace when they were both children. The discussion was based on actual excerpts from Lena’s book Not That Kind of Girl. At first, Lena played the scandal like the controversy-troll she is, half-baiting and half-way positioning herself as a victim of aggressive male bullies. Then the whole thing turned on her and she ended up issuing a half-assed apology and she canceled part of her European book tour. She also threatened to sue Truth Revolt, the conservative site that picked up the National Journal’s claims and went overboard (that site even misidentified Lena’s age during the time of the alleged abuse).

Here’s my take: Lena is either consulting with a crisis manager or she fully understands that she might need to take a step back, and that she can’t handle this scandal with her normal controversy-trolling ways. She’s barely tweeted since her half-assed apology. She has issued no further public statements. Some people – mostly her defenders – are trying to turn this controversy into a teachable moment, which I guess is trying to make the best out of this situation. This Salon piece in particular was interesting to me. This Time Mag piece was awful though – I’m sorry, but Lena is not our most accessible feminist. STAHP.

So, will Lena survive this mess? I don’t know. Probably. If she continues to follow a more mature path in handling this crisis, probably. I think it’s sort of interesting that she no longer has green hair too – she dyed it back to blonde, because she’s a serious writer and feminist, not an attention-troll!! The trailer for Girls Season 4 came out this week too:


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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101 Responses to “Lena Dunham makes her first public outing since controversy: will she survive?”

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  1. mimf says:

    *pops non-GMO popcorn and waits for it*

  2. Lori says:

    I hope she is over. I hope is in no longer a role model for anyone!

  3. Dark Underbelly says:

    Go on now go, walk out the door
    Just turn around now
    ‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore

    • Snazzy says:

      she never was …

    • Abbott says:

      Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
      Do you think I’d crumble?
      Did you think I’d lay down and die?

      A Gloria Gaynor station is what is missing on my Pandora playlist. Thanks, Dark Underbelly! You’re a true humanitarian, no matter what Taylor Swift says about you.

      • lower-case deb says:

        i try to say goodbye and i choke
        try to walk away and i stumble
        my world crumbles when you are not here…..
        ….. when the sky faaawwwllls
        apple crumblllleeeee
        we will stand tawwlll
        and carry awwwn to the nearest whole foods stawrree

        *not a good mashup when one’s hungray

      • Kiddo (aka dark underbelly) says:

        I can’t take credit, though, it screamed out of Kaiser’s headline.

      • MaiGirl says:

        “….. when the sky faaawwwllls
        apple crumblllleeeee


    • Someonestolemyname says:


  4. QQ says:

    ffiuhoijergerkjnkjnkjnvfkjnfvkjfd it Makes me FURIOUS

  5. Size Does Matter says:

    Very interesting that when controversy increases over something she said/did/wrote, her appearance becomes less outrageous.

    • mimf says:

      Yeah, I havering noticed that too.

      • Kiddo (aka dark underbelly) says:

        She’s just illustrating inverse proportions. She’s the voice of a generation after all.

    • Blythe says:

      Lena’s already got this scandal hanging over her head. She doesn’t need another one about how tacky and forced she always looks.

    • Falkor says:

      It it also worth noting her makeup here. She has long whispy falsies to open up her eyes and pink and white shadows to warm up her brown peepers to create a doe-eyed look. Her makeup has never been so muted and soft. Manipulator powers: activate! Form of: Lena Dunham!

      • QQ says:

        *slow claps* well played in the investigation ladies .. I was like hmmm This isn’t vomitously terrible! well look at that

      • Kiddo (aka dark underbelly) says:

        Um, the hard liquid eyeliner is about as muted as it is unnoticeable on Brow von Guyliner Fonz. I think what you are trying to say is that her face is not a kaleidoscope here. But it looks damn good.

      • Falkor says:

        The makeup is muted as a whole look comparative to all of her previous looks. The weird, strong eyeliner is an attempt to open the eyes, but the rest of her face is quiet as a church mouse.

    • Size Does Matter says:

      Like they expect us to be a bunch of effing mindless sheeple. “Oh, she looks so sweet and innocent, so she must in fact be sweet and innocent and have normal boundaries and not be completely warped and self centered. It was all just a big misunderstanding.” We’re on to you, Lena!

    • Wren says:

      I saw that too. Saw the pics and thought, “Hey, she put in the effort to look nice! Don’t like that weird hand-biscuit clutch, but she looks good.”


    • whatsmyname? says:

      Because she is getting attention for something else she doesn’t have to dress like a mess.

    • Size Does Matter says:

      If she whitens her teeth it will be a sign of the coming apocalypse.

  6. original kay says:

    I hope her career does not thrive now. She repulses me.

  7. Lis says:

    Can it be a teachable moment that people who have done nothing of importance ought to refrain from writing over sharing memoirs?

  8. Patricia says:

    She dug her own grave. I used to look at her and see a whining, self-absorbed, overly delicate young woman, which was bad enough. Now I see a strange ball of sexual neediness that was taken out on her own sister… even worse than before.

  9. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I find it disturbing that she violated her sister’s boundaries as a child, and again as an adult, without seeming to realize it. Children are curious about sex, and that’s natural, but a similar event happened to me, and it’s unfair to the younger child. I received an apology from the person as an adult, sincere and remorseful, once the person matured enough to realize the position it put me in as the younger child. I’m past it, largely because of the apology. It would hurt me very much to have it made into a joke.

    • Lori says:

      I think that’s why this situation hit me so hard. I was preyed upon by an older aunt as a small child. She was 11 and I was 4. It certainly felt like abuse to me, even if it was just curiousity on her part. When I spoke up about it to my mother as an adult, it was made to seem like no big deal, children do that. Just a second round of devastation for me.

      • original kay says:

        Yes, I can relate to this. When I was 12, I went to see a doctor about migraines. I went in alone (not sure why, where my mother was? waiting room I suppose?) and he talked, then did a fast physical (eyes, throat, etc). He went to listen to my heart and lungs and said he couldn’t hear very well because I was wearing a bra. He asked me to remove it, and he was the doctor so I did. He held my breast while he “listened”. Never before and never again has a doctor needed to do that. Years, and I mean YEARS later I finally thought to speak of it and it was totally dismissed. It was like reliving it again. To this day I mistrust doctors :(

      • mernymerlyn says:

        Ladies, this is so sad to hear how people you trusted violated you.
        I have never had this type of experience but I have friends that have gone through it and is disgusting to me that anyone would do this to a child.

    • Wren says:

      The teachable moment here is to make sure you teach and then reinforce personal boundaries with children.

      The fact that she doesn’t even see the problem here bothers me the most. Kids do awful stuff without even knowing what they’re doing, but how, as an adult, can you not only look back on it and think “meh” but put it in a book for the world to read??

  10. Alexis says:

    She’s awful.

  11. Falkor says:

    I don’t know, I’m not a psychic, but people are fickle as hell and we love to watch a smug twit fall. Fall right to the bottom, little pigspawn, and then fall some more.

  12. Kaye says:

    Her eyes look like they’re on upside down, though.

    • Jag says:

      Usually the upturned liner is on the top lid, not the bottom, so I totally agree with you that her eyes look upside down. lol

    • Falkor says:

      I heartily believe the MUA was desperately trying to open and soften her eyes. The weird liner is an attempt to trick the eye and it looks so stupid and obvious.

  13. Itsnotthatserious says:

    I don’t know why her mediocrity has been so abundantly rewarded, oh the privilege of whiteness. Issa Rae is smart and witty and her awkward black girl web series is better than anything this girl has ever done with her show, but does Issa get the same opportunities, No.

    • Nick says:


    • allheavens says:


      Tell it!

      I’ve tried multiple times to watch her show. I never make it through a full episode. All I came away with was WTF is so special about these navel gazing millennials and why are there no POC in NYC?

      The voice of a generation? Chile please, the voice of a generation living in a bubble.

  14. Sam says:

    Of course she’ll be okay. She has more than enough people willing to make excuses for her. Her sister isn’t upset, they say, so it’s okay! (Never mind that Richard Dawkins was pilloried some months ago for making a very similar statement). Never mind that even if you don’t think it was abuse, it was not Lena’s story to tell in the first place. But she’s going to be fine because she has plenty of defenders.

  15. Alyce says:

    I’m a young, white feminist and Lena does not represent me at all. I mention race bc I’m her target demo and I can’t stand her. If I met any of the characters on Girls in real life, we would not be friends. We would be enemies. Like the Hatfields and the Macoys. Or Biggie and Tupac. That level of hatred is what I’m saying here. ;)

    • Ange says:

      I’m with you there. I watched until early season 3 then practically flung my computer out the window. Please dear god let season 4 include a tornado.

  16. Vvvoid says:

    She is just awful and that she even has “defenders” infuriates me. But I’m afraid the same mentality that makes it possible for her to have white knights in the media will allow her to remain viable.

  17. Faithmobile says:

    Bye Falicia

  18. Narak says:

    The quotes were taken out of context. She wouldn’t have written it without her sisters consent, and I find the comments about her appearance really depressing. So that’s all we women are in the end, judged by what we look like?

  19. Jen says:

    Of course she’ll survive, cause the rich white hipsters who have propped her up until now will continue doing so.

    • Narak says:

      I’m a 53 year old feminist- not rich or hip, and I find the amount of negative focus on her appearance really disturbing.
      Her movie Tiny Furniture was actually really good.

      • Falkor says:

        Oh, I didn’t realize the whole controversy was about what a beautiful rose petal she is or is not. See, I thought it was about her abusive, narcissistic and solipsistic behavior towards her sister throughout Grace’s entire life. I thought the feminist thing to do would be support the female victim of abuse, not her abuser. I didn’t understand that Lena’s appearance was the problem here, thanks for letting folks know that being wretched is totally cool as long as you’re an oppressed and downtrodden rich white woman who happens to look a mess. I was under the impression that her appearance was superficial, but you corrected me. A+ feminist you are.

  20. Sara says:

    she’ll be fine, there are enough other white feminists in the media protecting her. funny how that would be something Lena herself would call out if it was a man.
    i mean the same people who go batsh*t crazy if a male comedian makes a rape joke are now defending Lena for actually commiting acts in real life and then joking about them. dont they get their double standards? look. i am not saying rape jokes are fine, im just saying a fictional story as a joke is way different than commiting acts for real and on top of that joking about them. Like if Bill Cosby joked about his well documented history with women accusing him of assault.

    i hope people wont forget what she did, not talking about Hollywood they wont care as long as she brings in money and/or awards, but regular people calling her out when she thinks its ok again to attack people for things that are nowhere near as bad as the stuff she has not only done herlself but jokingly wrote about it.

    im curious how other celebs will treat her in the future.

  21. Katenotkatie says:

    I just hope that she will get even more side-eye than she did previously whenever she’s declared The Genius Feminist Icon of All Women of All Time. I hope people who have previously lauded her and her insufferable work will take a moment and realize that the disturbing lack of awareness of consent/boundaries/bodily autonomy of others she demonstrated in telling these stories is not some radical feminist act. Of course, many (mostly white) feminists have fallen all over themselves to defend her, but hopefully there will be more vocal questioning of her feminist cred in the future.

  22. kibbles says:

    Unfortunately, Dunham will remain relevant as long as Girls is on the air. I hope that Girls does not last more than 5 seasons so that Dunham can fade away into the background of the privileged hipster feminism movement once her awful show has ended.

    This is the best she’s ever looked. That is not saying much, but at least she looks decent and presentable for once. It definitely has something to do with this controversy. Maybe this is the only way she will ever stop being a try-hard attention whore and act like a grownup because she has to in order to fix her image.

    • lucy2 says:

      I’ll be curious to see how HBO deals with this. The show doesn’t get huge ratings as it is, just a lot of media attention. It’s already been around for a few seasons, and now a controversy? I could see them wanting to wrap it up soon and not be tied to her anymore. But who knows.

  23. Talie says:

    No doubt, her behavior with her sister was highly inappropriate. I was stunned at the last comment thread about this on here. Some of the horrifying stories people told from their own childhood’s — and we’re so cavalier about it!! “Normal” is subjective, yes, but there is a sense of right and wrong we must recognize.

  24. Mixtape says:

    I don’t think she’ll survive. Most of the celebrity-consuming population was already annoyed that she was famous despite being overweight and outspoken, and she has now handed them a legitimate reason to despise her on a plate. The remaining minority–Girls fans–are as young and fickle as the characters they love. They will move on to the next big thing without much effort.

  25. Sue says:

    She is gross.

  26. TheCountess says:

    Same reaction as to the Eminem post yesterday:

    What a gross individual.

  27. Virgojg says:

    I’m surprised no one picked up on the placement of her purse with the fingers in front of her crotch. Deliberate?

  28. X says:

    For young women, she very well is one of the most accessibly feminists today. Also, there was nothing wrong with what she wrote in her book. Two young sisters curious about their bodies does not equate sexual abuse.

    She is far from over. She is talented and I think that pains many writers whose compositions are limited to celebrity gossip posts.

    • Falkor says:

      I’m a young woman and I strongly disagree. She is an icon to a very, very particular sub-group and irrelevant to feminists outside of that group such as myself.

    • Erinn says:

      Yeah, I’m a young feminist, and I have never spent a moment of my time outside of this blog on Lena. I just don’t think of her as a voice for 20-somethings, or women, or anyone really.

    • Kitten says:

      Yup what Erinn and Falkor said.

      I’m really tired of the “white feminists ____” generalizations as if there isn’t over 100 million white women living in the US alone, with 68% of us self-identifying as feminists.
      It’s ridiculous the amount of finger-pointing that goes on, particularly when within the vast umbrella of feminism, there exists myriad types of feminism, and within all those types, one’s personal definition of feminism is generally a fluid and ever-evolving thing.

      I don’t watch Girls and I don’t support Lena Dunham. Just because we’re both white, female, and feminist doesn’t mean that she speaks for me.

    • ScrewStewrat99 says:

      You found nothing wrong with a 17 year old pleasuring herself while laying in bed next to her 11 year old sister? I find those kinds of actions to be pretty disturbing. How would you feel if a 17 year old boy pleasured himself next to his 11 year old sister while laying in bed together? Would you feel different then?

    • Vvvoid says:

      What what what? I’m a 28 yo woman, if that qualifies as young, and she has always been an embarrassment. Accessible? Because she’s chubby and awkward and poorly proportioned ? I don’t care. She is a flagrant narcissist, it is more than obvious, and to chalk up what she did as a SEVENTEEN year old to a little kid sister as some kind of mutual experience is absurd. There is no excuse, none.

    • Likey says:

      I agree. She’s no feminist. I’m at a loss to explain how to contributes to any culture (pop or whatever) at all, with her show and her navel-gazing (and highly annoying) “observations” on life.

    • Ava says:

      This was NOT two young children curious about their bodies! It was an older sister touching a younger without her consent. This is NOT what feminism is about.

      • ava.l says:

        Here here! I’m ashamed to be a young woman in the world if this is what is held up as feminism. This is the voice of my generation? I really hope she just fades away, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    • ava.l says:

      Ok Lena, except most people don’t really think you are that talented. And what you did to your little sister wasn’t some kind of mutual exploration. You yourself compared what you did to things a sexual predator would do. For those who’ve been preyed upon, there is no “comical use” of the term. And Lena, imagine if someone like…ohh, one of Sarah Palin’s daughters or G.W. Bush’s daughters had written this? People would be demanding they be arrested and in jail, so I don’t think you can blame this on the right wing.

  29. kri says:

    I hope this is the start of her being over. The sweet makeup and normal (for her) hair and dress don’t fool me. Get this b*tch out of my face forever, please.

  30. Cindy says:

    I am most likely reading too much into this, but in the photo with Judd Apatow, does he look a little uncomfortable? She has her arm around him, but he doesn’t have his around her, and he’s leaning in but his body is facing forward away from her. I think she is going to take a real hit for this, and I don’t think her career will ever be the same. She did inappropriate sexual crap to her sister AND THAN WROTE A BOOK ABOUT IT. The book is out there forever, her own words, no question of misunderstanding about it. I think she will fade away when Girls comes to an end.

    • emmie_a says:

      I’ll just add… She wrote a book about it. And joked about it. And didn’t think she was wrong. She’s a sick puppy and when I saw her picture the first thing I thought was “child molester” – I know that’s a harsh title for her but that’s where my mind went.

  31. aang says:

    I was reading about her here long before I got curious and watched a bit of Girls on Amazon. All the hate finally got the better of me and I had to see for myself. Yes the characters are obnoxious and self absorbed but you can say that about so many TV shows. I agree with Mixtape and Narak. The hateful attention to her look started way before this controversy and is very disturbing.

    • Falkor says:

      Okay, but how about we make it not about Lena for just one second. She abused her sister and that’s literally on the books. How is commentary about appearance related?

      • Vvvoid says:

        Exactly! Minus her obnoxious narcissism and sexual abuse (yes, it was) of her sister I would not mind her for her appearance! I watched every episode of Girls until this season (well whatever aired prior to this fall, I watched ) when I started to hear about her too much and couldn’t ignore how irritating she was. I watched the show mainly to hate the characters and because my ex boyfriend was on it. What she wrote about her sister eclipsed her appearance big time, and anyone who is more bothered by the body shaming she endures than the creepy mental and sexual abuse she inflicted on her sister has an effed up value system.

  32. Dotty says:

    Let’s just stick a fork in her and call her done.

  33. Abby_J says:

    I’ve never seen an episode of Girls, and other than what I’ve seen and read on the internet, I know VERY little about her. Last week she was on the Graham Norton show, and wow, she is completely vapid. Seriously. If she is the best feminism has (according to her fans), then feminism is truly dead.

    Seriously. I was embarrassed for her.

  34. Penelope says:

    Will she survive? Unfortunately, yes.

  35. DrMrsTheMonarch says:

    I predict that the next thing with her will be massive weight loss.

    She’ll coyly go on the interview/talk circuit and talk/not talk about her new body with regard to feminism, age. gender, sexuality, etc. She’ll act surprised that it is an issue, and then complain that she’s being asked to address it.

    She’ll never go away as long as she has something to exploit.

  36. d says:

    I think how well she can work with others will determine the success level of her career. Regardless of the fact that she has her “own show”, she DOES have to work with other people and the rumblings about her outsize ego may be a sign that hard times are to come for her. So far though, and only in my opinion, I’d say her talent doesn’t seem to have a lot of range. There are MANY other women out there who seem to have a stronger, clearer voice and with more interesting stories to tell. I’ve always thought she was overrated, or that her fame outstripped her talent and her body of work thus far. The celebrity newscycle or whatever hasn’t helped, but still.

  37. poppy says:

    so, did lena say, “hey, i’m writing my funny memoir and you the stuff i did to you are going to be in it.”

    or was it, “uh hey, i wrote my funny memoir and you and the stuff i did to you are in it.”

    because it seems doubtful her sister said, “hey you should write about me and the stuff you did to me in your funny memoir.”

    none of it is funny. except to lena.

  38. ava.l says:

    I’m not sure I understand how this became a conservative vs. liberal issue. I’m not conservative at all, but when I read the excerpt from her book, I felt ill. I was horrified by her descriptions of what she engaged in with her baby sister. So when I read her tweets and the controversy that followed about the “right wing blog” suggesting abuse, I couldn’t believe that there weren’t dozens of “blogs” out there talking about it! Why would only “right wing” people be calling this out?

    • Falkor says:

      She thought she could manipulate the situation and hoodwink the public into thinking this was just a politically motivated attack on poor victim-child Lena. It only worked for her fanbase, sadly for Lena. She thinks she’s got some serious brain-power while the rest of us are in the mental minor leagues. In summation: narcissist shit.