Writer quits feminist Lena Dunham’s newsletter, accuses her of ‘hipster racism’ in scathing letter

Writer quits feminist Lena Dunham’s newsletter, accuses her of ‘hipster racism’ in scathing letter
A writer at feminist Lena Dunham's "Lenny Letter" resigns over what she calls "hipster racism." (Getty Images)

Zinzi Clemmons, a black writer at millennial feminist Lena Dunham’s newsletter, the Lenny Letter, has resigned from her position at the publication.

In a statement first published on Facebook Saturday — and shared Sunday on Twitter — Clemmons revealed that “hipster racism” was one of the reasons she decided to leave Lenny Letter.

What’s the background?

Clemmons began her statement by admitting that she’d taken issue with Dunham’s defense of a man accused of rape, as well as her subsequent statement on the matter.

Dunham was criticized after she defended her friend, writer Murray Miller, who was recently accused of rape by actress Aurora Perrineau. Perrineau was a minor when the incident reportedly occurred.

After receiving harsh criticism, Dunham appeared to backtrack from her original comments.

In a statement Saturday, Dunham said, “I naively believed 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.

“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,” she added. “We apologize to any woman who have been disappointed.”

What did Clemmons say?

Clemmons shared a screenshot of her statement on Twitter, captioning it, “My statement on why I will no longer write for @lennyletter, and the behavior I witnessed firsthand from @lenadunham’s friends.”

“It is time for women of color — black women in particular — to divest from Lena Dunham,” she said.

In the letter, Clemmons wrote, “As a result of Lena Dunham’s statements, I have decided that I will no longer write for Lenny Letter. For all you writers who are outraged about what she did, I encourage you to do the same. Especially women of color. She cannot have our words if she cannot respect us. To eliminate any doubt, I know exactly who Lena Dunham is — who she was before she was famous —and have for years.”

She added that she was well aware of Dunham’s college circle of friends, who would engage in what Clemmons called “hipster racism.”

“[Hipster racism typically] uses sarcasm as a cover, and in the end it looks a lot like gaslighting,” Clemmons explained. “‘It’s just a joke. Why are you overreacting?’ is a common response to these kinds of statements.”

Clemmons said that she was “overcome” after hearing Dunham defend a man accused of raping an underage actress several years ago — an incident which Clemmons said bore resemblance to an incident she witnessed her one of her best friends having to endure during college.

“Let’s hold Lena accountable, and to me, that means sacrificing some comfort and a little bit of cash, in this moment,” she concluded.

Is there more?

After sharing her letter — which, at the time of this writing, has received over 25,000  likes — Clemmons fired off a very pointed tweet directed at Dunham herself.

Clemmons addressed the Dunham’s follow-up statement on the rape accusation, and called it a non-apology.

Clemmons wrote, “This isn’t an apology, this is a half-assed attempt to cover your ass. GTFOH.”

Early Monday morning, Clemmons on Twitter addressed backlash she’d received for her public display of displeasure against Dunham.

“To all the haters, harassers and abusers creeping into my timeline, remember this: I brought down a major celebrity and her publication with one Facebook post. Try me,” she wrote.

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