Lena Dunham has apologized for comparing bad press to an abusive domestic partner, but she still intends to quit Twitter over online bullying, People is reporting.
Speaking this week on the Re/code Decode Podcast, the 29-year-old star of HBO’s Girls said that someone else is running her Twitter feed — being body-shamed by haters isn’t her cup of tea — and compared gossip magazines like Gawker and Jezebel to a domestic abuser (Jezebel offered $10,000 for un-retouched photos from her photo shoot, and then published them).
“I used to read Gawker and Jezebel in college and be like, ‘I can’t wait to get to New York where my people will be to welcome me.’ And it’s like, it’s literally, if I read it, it’s like going back to a husband who beat me in the face – it just doesn’t make any sense.”
On Tuesday, Lena posted a message on Instagram apologizing for her insensitive remarks.
In a recent interview I compared reading certain websites that have repeatedly insulted me to returning to a physically abusive husband again and again. When I heard my own quote I was like “Jesus, Lena, no.” I wasn’t making a joke about domestic violence–I was over emphatic in my attempt to capture how damaging the Internet can be (not just to celebrities.)
Throughout her career, Lena Dunham has attracted her share of controversy, although how much she’s brought on herself is a matter of debate. Her popular HBO show Girls, now approaching its fifth season, is described by MSN as “polarizing” for featuring nudity, graphic sex scenes, and other controversial content. Many of those scenes of nudity and sex involve Lena herself, who, at times in her career, has eschewed typical Hollywood standards of beauty in favor of her natural look.
Lena’s unconventional (by entertainment industry standards) look — and her willingness to share her look on her show and on social media — has led to intense body-shaming and cyber-bullying on social media, with some commenters often getting downright nasty in their remarks. In September, Dunham posted the following image of herself in her boyfriend’s underwear on Instagram.
The post, which Lena would later describe to People as meant to be funny, became the site for an intense — and, at times, downright nasty — debate about standards of beauty. Several commenters posted downright disgusting statements about Lena and her body, including things such as “nobody should have let you out of the hole you crawled out of” and “clearly she is a fat pig.”
“It wasn’t a graphic picture. I was wearing men’s boxers and it turned into the most rabid, disgusting debate about women’s bodies, and my Instagram page was somehow the hub for misogynists for the afternoon.”
Even though the kerfuffle — and similar controversies – took place on Instagram and not Twitter, Lena says that the “verbal violence” directed towards her has caused her to leave the social media platform for good. There are still posts made on Twitter on the Lena Dunham Twitter feed, but Lena doesn’t post them herself — she posts through a third party. She says she doesn’t even know her Twitter password, but she still wants to be a part of the community.
I still appreciate your time and love, even if I’m not checking my replies. Isn’t this fascinating? How’s your day? Cool!
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) September 30, 2015
Look for Lena Dunham and the rest of the cast of Girls when the HBO series returns for its fifth and possibly final season in January.
[Images courtesy of Getty Images/Jesse Grant]