Lena Dunham's Employee Quits, Cites Her 'Hipster Racism'

Nov 20, 2017 at 1:37 p.m. ET
Image: Jim Spellman/Getty Images

The fallout continues after Lena Dunham released a statement of support for Girls writer Murray Miller, who was accused by actor Aurora Perrineau of sexually assaulting her when she was a minor. Amid backlash, Dunham retracted that statement and apologized for her initial response to the allegations.

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Now, one of Dunham's most prolific writers for her online newsletter, Lenny Letter, has quit. Writer Zinzi Clemmons cited Dunham's response to this scandal as part of her reason for leaving, but she also made serious allegations about possible racist comments Dunham has made in the past.

In a statement originally posted to her Facebook and subsequently to her Twitter, Clemmons said Dunham is "well-known" for her "hipster racism." She began her statement with a call to action for other writers, especially women of color: "For all you writers who are outraged about what she did, I encourage you to do the same. Especially women of colour. She cannot have our words if she cannot respect us."

Clemmons went on in her statement, citing her personal reasons for departing and why this recent incident with Dunham encouraged her to leave Lenny Letter. "Back in college, I avoided those people like the plague because of their well-known racism," she wrote. "I'd call their strain 'hipster racism' which typically uses sarcasm as a cover, and in the end, it looks a lot like gaslighting — 'It's just a joke. Why are you overreacting?' is a common response to these kinds of statements."

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Clemmons continued, "In Lena's circle, there was a girl who was known to use the N word in conversation in order to be provocative, and if she was ever called on it, she would say, 'It's just a joke.' I was often in the same room with her, but I never spoke to her, only watched her from afar in anxiety and horror."

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At this time, Dunham has not responded to Clemmons' claims, nor has any person associated or related to Dunham.

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