UPDATED (November 18): Lena Dunham released a new statement on Twitter saying she and Jenni Konner regret the timing of their prior statement “with every fiber of our being,” adding, “every woman who comes forward deserves to be heard, fully and completely, and our relationship to the accused should not be part of the calculation anyone makes when examining her case.”
— 💎 Lena Dunham 💎 (@lenadunham) November 19, 2017
Without naming “Girls” creator Lena Dunham and showrunner Jenni Konner, Amber Tamblyn criticized them for siding with series writer Murray Miller, who this week was accused of raping actress Aurora Perrineau. At The Hollywood Roosevelt on November 18, the “Paint It Black” writer-director closed out the Vulture Festival edition of “Feminist AF,” the reading series she co-founded with author Roxane Gay, by encouraging women to be “allies to one another” without exception.
“‘Wait a minute, this was my friend; wait a minute, I’ve worked with this person, he’s really nice, there’s no way he could have done that’…all these ‘wait a minutes,’ they have to go,” Tamblyn said. “They really have to go.”
Perrineau filed a November 16 police report claiming Murray raped her at his Los Angeles-area home in 2012, when she was 17. The next day, Dunham — a sexual assault survivor — and Konner defended their former colleague in a joint statement, saying their “insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.” The statement was widely castigated on social media, including by Gay:
White man accused of raping a black woman and multiple white women come to his defense because he’s a nice guy. I just. Keep it, as @ira counsels. Just keep it.
— roxane gay (@rgay) November 18, 2017
Dunham and Konner were originally supposed to headline their own Vulture Fest panel tonight, but a substitute conversation with Emmy winners Jill Soloway (“Transparent”) and Lena Waithe (“Master of None”) was added to the program in its place.
“I think it’s really important right now for women, of course, to be believed but for fellow allies and other women to also believe those women and show their sense of support,” said Tamblyn, also an Emmy-nominated actress and author of three poetry collections. “I think that’s one of the biggest struggles that I see right now, especially in the entertainment business, because there’s been several men lately who are really people that we loved — past tense — and now it’s really complicated. So you see a lot of people coming forward and saying, ‘Well, wait a minute, let’s make a tiny exception.’ It’s like, ‘No, the exceptions are over. That’s it,'” a sentiment that earned applause.
While some like Bryan Cranston and Bill Burr have posited that recently accused harassers and abusers like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., and Kevin Spacey might be able to rehabilitate their careers, Tamblyn disagrees. Whether an alleged perpetrator “tr[ied] to stick your tongue down someone’s throat” or carried out “rape and worse,” she said, “The consequence in my opinion for all of those things is you lose your career and you go away for a while. I don’t think that there’s a sliding scale, it’s just unanimously you have to go. You’re done.”
Getty Images for Vulture Festival Los Angeles
Tamblyn — who wrote a September New York Times op-ed about a predatory proposition she allegedly received as a minor from actor James Woods — continued that the current climate in Hollywood is “especially upsetting and disorienting for cis white men, because they’re very confused. Because they’ve never in their entire lives had consequences that were not served by themselves to each other. Now it’s not them doing it and deciding the fates of their lives, it’s women,” generating more applause. “That’s I think a very scary feeling for them.” In 2018, Tamblyn will publish her first novel, “Maude;” Harper Perennial has billed the book as “an in-depth look at American rape culture” that chronicles “an amorphous serial rapist.”
The participants of “Feminist AF” included Tamblyn, Gay, Randa Jarrar, Attica Locke, and Rachel McKibbens. Tamblyn read poems about becoming a parent this year with husband David Cross. Last month on Twitter, actress and comedian Charlyne Yi accused the “Arrested Development” star of addressing her in a racist way when they met a decade ago in a hotel bar in Shreveport, Louisiana. Cross initially responded by saying he didn’t remember mocking her clothes and saying, “You don’t speak English?? Ching-chong-ching-chong,” but later clarified that he’d merely been playing a “southern redneck character.” After speaking to Yi, Tamblyn tweeted, “I believe her.”
“The important message for me is to always say believe first, question later, and that we have to stand as a unified front,” said Tamblyn, who was photographed on the Vulture Festival red carpet carrying a “Don’t Tell Me to Fucking Smile” tote bag. “You can’t just be looking at your own future, as a woman. You have to be looking left and right and [at] who’s next to you and who’s behind you that’s not being supported, who can you bring with you. Because an army is just not strong enough if we’re all not holding each other’s stories as strongly as we can.”