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Lena Dunham’s ‘Inappropriate’ Encounter With TV Producer Detailed in New Lenny Letter

Lena Dunham sexist encounter
Matteo Prandoni/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

“Girls” co-showrunner Jenni Konner revealed that Lena Dunham experienced a sexist encounter with a male TV producer/director after wrapping her long-running HBO series.

Konner detailed the incident in Tuesday’s edition of their Lenny Letter newsletter, writing that Dunham was “cornered,” forced to look at a lewd photo, and asked to convince a fellow actress to agree to on-screen nudity, implying that Dunham was famous for her nude scenes. He then allegedly critiqued the bodies of the actresses on his show.

“The director asked Lena to have dinner alone the following night with an actress on the show he works on. Not because he thought they should meet, but because he wanted Lena to persuade the actress to ‘show her tits, or at least some vag’ on TV. Surely Lena could make a compelling argument. After all, he continued, ‘You would show anything. Even your a–hole,'” Konner writes in the newsletter, which she founded with Dunham.

Konner said she, Dunham, and a few co-workers ran into the crew of another TV show that shoots nearby while eating out. The unnamed producer/director, who they were meeting for the first time, took Dunham aside “within five minutes” and showed her a photo on his phone of “a mutual friend with a cock next to her face, ostensibly a still from his TV show but shown at a completely inappropriate time.”

Konner wrote that if he felt comfortable having said conversation with a Golden Globe winner and showrunner, “it’s easy to speculate what might be said to women working with him, under him, dependent on his approval.”

Some of the men in their group justified that he was extremely intoxicated. “When women get drunk, they are asking for it. When men get drunk, they don’t mean it,” Konner wrote.

Konner recounted the encounter to highlight the pervasive sexism in the movie and TV industries. In fact, Konner said these incidents are commonplace for Dunham.

“This is fairly common behavior with strangers and Lena,” she writes. “In my most generous moments, I can see their nervousness, their familiarity with her frank sexual work, and their desire to make a connection.”

Konner said one of the ways to combat misogyny is to speak up: “Our voices are our superpower.” “The only thing standing between men and outdated, hideous behavior is their ability to get away with it,” she says.

“Girls” returns to HBO for its sixth and final season next year.