Lena Dunham's book publisher now says the name of the man whom she identified as having raped her in college is actually a pseudonym, but a legal fight could still be brewing.
In her recent memoir, "Not That Kind of Girl," the HBO star said she was sexually assaulted during her time at Oberlin College by a man she described as a well-known campus Republican named Barry.
As Breitbart reporter John Nolte noted during his investigation into Dunham's story, a conservative Oberlin alumnus named Barry was easy to find — but he didn't exactly fit Dunham's description. In response to the attention, the real-life Barry contacted a lawyer and set up crowd-funding page to support his legal defense — bringing in more than $24,000 so far.
On Monday, Random House acknowledged the "confusion" and offered some concessions, but the real-life Barry's legal team vowed to keep fighting.
Dunham's decision to go the "unreliable narrator" route in telling her story of consensual sex-turned-sexual assault muddies the waters, but in her memoir, she made it very clear that the man who assaulted her was a mustachioed Republican named Barry.
While in parts of her memoir Dunham explicitly noted when a name had been changed to protect a person's identity, she made no such disclaimer about "Barry."
Random House's statement Monday affirmed that the real-life Barry was not the person Dunham was accusing of sexual assault, saying the name used in the book is a pseudonym.
Random House also offered to edit future editions of Dunham's memoir and to pay the legal fees that the real-life Barry has incurred thus far.
A message posted to Barry's GoFundMe page Tuesday afternoon acknowledged Random House's offer, but suggested the fight is far from over and noted that Dunham herself had not apologized:
It wasn’t until more than $20,000 was raised for Barry’s legal fund – and the attention of John Nolte of Breitbart News Network – that Random House responded yesterday.
Random House seems to think '(we) regret the confusion' is a real apology. We disagree.
All the above said, we are glad that Random House finally decided to issue its statement yesterday and is agreeing to edit Lena Dunham’s memoir so it is absolutely clear that the name “Barry” is a pseudonym. Our work, however, is not complete. Random House’s offer to foot legal expenses already incurred fails to take into account the fact there are still ongoing legal expense because of their mistakes.
Perhaps most important, Barry and his family are grateful to everyone who has contributed to his legal fund. Barry has been truly blown away by the overwhelming amount of support and contributions he has received to help him and his family with these unjust circumstances. We will continue to keep the GoFundMe campaign active to raise money for survivors of sexual assaults and for Barry’s ongoing legal expenses until we receive an apology from Ms. Dunham and both Ms. Dunham and Random House have taken all appropriate steps to clear Barry’s name and restore the damage caused to his reputation.
UPDATE: In a Tuesday evening piece published on BuzzFeed, Lena Dunham personally confirmed that the real-life Barry from Oberlin College is not the man she accused of sexual assault, writing:
To be very clear, “Barry” is a pseudonym, not the name of the man who assaulted me, and any resemblance to a person with this name is an unfortunate and surreal coincidence. I am sorry about all he has experienced.
This story has been updated.
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