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Lena Dunham Pens Apology to Odell Beckham Jr. After Met Gala Comments Backlash

One day after an interview with Amy Schumer that was published in her Lenny Letter newsletter faced backlash, Lena Dunham followed up with an apology.

“I owe Odell Beckham Jr an apology,” she wrote. “Despite my moments of bravado, I struggle at industry events (and in life) with the sense that I don’t rep a certain standard of beauty and so when I show up to the Met Ball surrounded by models and swan-like actresses it’s hard not to feel like a sack of flaming garbage. This felt especially intense with a handsome athlete as my dinner companion and a bunch of women I was sure he’d rather be seated with.”

“I went ahead and projected these insecurities and made totally narcissistic assumptions about what he was thinking, then presented those assumptions as facts,” she added. “I feel terrible about it.”

In the interview, Dunham and Schumer commiserated over feeling out of place at the 2016 Met Gala, and Dunham recounted an interaction — or lack thereof — with NFL player Odell Beckham Jr.

“I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards,” she wrote. “He was like, ‘That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.’ It wasn’t mean — he just seemed confused.”

She continued, “The vibe was very much like, ‘Do I want to f— it? Is it wearing a … yep, it’s wearing a tuxedo. I’m going to go back to my cell phone.’ It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling Instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie. I was like, ‘This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes.'”

Following the interview, Dunham faced backlash for her comments including from Roxane Gay, who explained why, to her, Dunham’s comments were problematic.

“When you are a woman who doesn’t fit the traditional beauty ideal you know that look men, mostly give you. It’s painful. And constant,” Gay tweeted. “Dunham was clearly projecting and speaking from a place of knowing what it’s like to receive that look, to be seen but unseen, [but] to use a black man and to name him is such a mess. Her point could have been made without him.”

She added, “But it wasn’t. And it contributes, intentionally or not, to really damaging ideas about black men and sexuality. Dude was just trying to live his life and now this? Ugh. The response to that interview isn’t mindless outrage. And once more we see why feminism has to be intersectional, that we have to think about the lived experiences of different bodies.”

The writer added that her problem with Dunham’s comments were only compounded by something else she said about attempting to grind on Michael B. Jordan. She also empathized with how scrutinized Dunham’s actions are writing, “Famous people experience it way more.”

Dunham acknowledged and accepted the criticism in her apology.

“[A]fter listening to lots of valid criticism, I see how unfair it is to ascribe misogynistic thoughts to someone I don’t know AT ALL,” she wrote. “But most importantly, I would never intentionally contribute to a long and often violent history of the over-sexualization of black male bodies- as well as false accusations by white women towards black men.”

She concluded, “I’m so sorry, particularly to OBJ, who has every right to be on his cell phone. The fact is I don’t know about his state of mind (I don’t know a lot of things) and I shouldn’t have acted like I did.”

View this post on Instagram

I owe Odell Beckham Jr an apology. Despite my moments of bravado, I struggle at industry events (and in life) with the sense that I don't rep a certain standard of beauty and so when I show up to the Met Ball surrounded by models and swan-like actresses it's hard not to feel like a sack of flaming garbage. This felt especially intense with a handsome athlete as my dinner companion and a bunch of women I was sure he'd rather be seated with. But I went ahead and projected these insecurities and made totally narcissistic assumptions about what he was thinking, then presented those assumptions as facts. I feel terrible about it. Because after listening to lots of valid criticism, I see how unfair it is to ascribe misogynistic thoughts to someone I don't know AT ALL. Like, we have never met, I have no idea the kind of day he's having or what his truth is. But most importantly, I would never intentionally contribute to a long and often violent history of the over-sexualization of black male bodies- as well as false accusations by white women towards black men. I'm so sorry, particularly to OBJ, who has every right to be on his cell phone. The fact is I don't know about his state of mind (I don't know a lot of things) and I shouldn't have acted like I did. Much love and thanks, Lena

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

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