4:59 pm - 02/22/2013

Lena Dunham Responds to Anger Over Comedian's N-Word Tweet

Lena Dunham didn't speak to the press at the Writers Guild Awards last Sunday, nor did she give a long speech when she accepted the trophy for best new series. And yet, she still finds herself embroiled in a controversy that launched during the show, even though it was none of her doing.

Comedian and presenter Lisa Lampanelli, who is famously known for her foul mouth, tweeted a photo of herself and Dunham at the awards, with the caption "Me with my n---a @LenaDunham of @HBOGirls - I love this beyotch!" Predictably, the tweet fired up critics, angry at Lampanelli -- a white woman -- for using the word.

One writer, Shayla Pierce, wrote several stories for various online publications expressing her outrage, and then took to Twitter to call out Dunham for not condemning Lampanelli.

".@LenaDunham has showed her true colors on this whole n-word debacle. Her silence speaks volumes," she tweeted. "I don't think I'll be watching @girlsHBO anymore. And I say that with honest sadness... Lena advertises herself as a progressive but she's chosen not to address the situation. She seems phony to me now."

Dunham responded on Twitter, writing that she would never use the n-word and that Lampanelli's tweet made her "supremely uncomfortable," but stayed silent because "twitter debates breed more twitter debates."

She added that "140 characters will never be enough for the kind of dialogue that will actually help us address issues of race and class," and then commended Pierce for a "beautifully written piece," apologizing for any discomfort she may have felt.

Pierce happily accepted her response, writing, "Thank you so much. And I do <3 you and your work. Thanks for addressing this *hugsies* @lenadunham."

For her part, Lampanelli has defended her use of the word, saying "The N-word ending in 'er' is far different context from the word ending in 'a.' Ask any person who knows the urban dictionary, it means 'friend."

rctshack 23rd-Feb-2013 03:57 am (UTC)
It doesn't make me feel better, it just makes this moment even more interesting and ironic. I was already feeling just fine, no need to feel better.

And I never said it makes your comments less true. I can easily say without your icon that a lot of your comments are you channeling other anger about the general lack of POC on TV into hating Lena Dunham for truthfully not doing anything negative towards any minority. You are personally not represented on a show where you feel like you should be, that's fine... but Lena didn't do anything wrong and people act like she did.

You are talking to someone who is gay and the only roles on TV with gay people are the sassy rude friend or the drug addict who everyone looks down on... so yah I understand your point. But I don't go to random shows where i feel like gays should be included and say that show is terrible and the lead writer is homophobic for not including a gay character. It's not like that. So that's how I view this. Everyone is acting like she is belittling POC when she's not.

And you were arguing with a single latino mother about representation on TV. I want to say that there are more strong black characters on TV than strong latino characters. So it seemed a little crazy that you feel wronged by this random HBO show Girls, when this woman has pretty much no shows to look up to.

Edited at 2013-02-23 04:07 am (UTC)
duchello 23rd-Feb-2013 04:23 am (UTC)
Ok so I jumped into this thread mid convo, but I essentially said way upthread (before I started acting all troll-y)that I don't personally hate Lena and that a lot of the hate she gets is unwarranted. I don't think that excuses the criticism that Girls (or any other show) show receives about POC. I expressed (again way upthread) that I can see where people are upset that Girls is getting lauded for being progressive, a statement that seems ridiculous when there's still a lack of diversity on TV. I mentioned that that's probably why people, not me personally, but people direct their anger at this particular show. Somehow that got construed into me supposedly thinking Lena spit on POC.

I don't think in any of my comments have I said she's racist nor do I actually blame her, I spoke very directly about the lack of opportunities to showcase POC writers and characters by the media itself.

I got peeved off at the user above because they I guess assumed I was white and had to mention that they were hispanic from meager beginnings, a background which actually is exaclty mine. Then basically said that if I cared so much I should "do something about it" as if people aren't actively already doing this? I don't know it struck me the wrong why as if they only reason POC, gays, women, etc. aren't in media because they aren't working hard enough on doing just that... idk.

All in all I actually don't hate Lena, I watch Girls occasionally and ~gasp even relate to some of it (not Hannah though, never Hannah).
duchello 23rd-Feb-2013 04:26 am (UTC)
And also no one hates white people for the sake of hating white people, if that's what you think the larger argument is about well then idk what to say....
rctshack 23rd-Feb-2013 04:35 am (UTC)
Not just for the sake of hating white people, but being bigoted towards people based on them being white. It's very common here and accepted because there "is no such thing as backwards racism" so apparently that means the door is open to hatred. I've been told countless number of times that my opinion doesn't matter because I'm white or that I can't talk about certain subjects here because of my skin color. I would never pull that stunt with me being gay, so I don't know how that's accepted in these cases.

I think there is a lot of hatred on this site towards people ~being~ white and it's unsettling. It's obviously just not for the sake of being white, but for reasons not dealing with the conversations at hand and there is a lot of unneeded hate speech that goes with it.

In this very thread. http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/75708119.html?thread=13445132503#t13445132503

Edited at 2013-02-23 04:36 am (UTC)
duchello 23rd-Feb-2013 04:54 am (UTC)
Let me correct myself then, most rational people don't hate white people for the sake of being white.

I hate doing the "I'm a minority!!!" card, but there really are some things that its going to be hard for people who are white to understand. But its also really difficult for me to understand the plights of lgbt groups like you understand it because I am not in the position to speak for you or what you experience. I do think though that we should be able to have open and constructive conversations about it.

Saying "SHUT THE FUCK UP ALWAYS WHITE BITCH" isn't constructive so no I don't agree with that kind of way to address the issue either. That thread you linked me to though isn't the norm. I know sometimes people comment "dammit white people" at posts like lisa lampewhooza's but I'm sure you know thats more of a frustration with people like lisa that try to excuse their use of a slur.

You might not do this but I have met people that do the same thing with straight people to an extreme. There's just some people that go over the top in any group.
booster_blue 23rd-Feb-2013 05:32 am (UTC)
Oh shut that noise up. We don't hate white people. We hate when white people continue to dismiss us, and our valid complaints, and then get mad when one of us says something in a less-than-polite tone.

You argue that ONTD hates white people because we come at celebs for saying/doing stupid anti-PoC shit? So what does it say about white society when they continue to come at PoC with distrust, mockery, and violence? Sorry, friend, but someone going "lol white ppl" is nowhere near the level of the shit we have to listen to come out of their mouths - and yet, we're supposed to just smile and accept it as harmless teasing. Fuck that noise.
rctshack 23rd-Feb-2013 05:51 am (UTC)
I agree with you though. But truthfully two wrongs don't make a right. If something similar has been done to you and it hurts, why do you feel the need to do it back, usually at people here that aren't the ones who originally said anti-poc things. And it's more about grouping everyone who is white into the same category as the dumbshits who say these terrible racist things. It truthfully helps nothing to say those things and I am aware that it's pent up anger from many things, but the way it's directed and to who on this site is completely unwarranted many times.

Obviously it's upsetting to be thrown into a category with terrible people and then have people on this site tell me that I don't get a say in anything because I happen to be the same skin color. To me that's like saying you don't get a say in certain conversations because of your skin color... or that I'm allowed to clump you together and say rood things because of how you were born. I don't think that's a proper excuse for certain behavior I witness here.

We hate when white people continue to dismiss us, and our valid complaints, and then get mad when one of us says something in a less-than-polite tone.

But that's exactly what I'm doing now, voicing my opinion on this matter and you are telling me to shut up. And no one is telling you that you can't voice your opinion on anything, just saying that certain general remarks about the race as a whole aren't needed. Making a mockery of who I am and belittling me isn't necessary when speaking about certain celebs who do racist things. I think if I made an overall judgement of your race when someone of your race does something dumb, I would expect quite a few comments telling me I am wrong for thinking like that... so why can't I feel the same?

And no one is saying you should just accept hate speech with a smile... just like I shouldn't either.
booster_blue 23rd-Feb-2013 06:10 am (UTC)
And where, pray tell, did I throw hate speech at you? Please, enlighten me at which point I came at you on account of your race/religion/sexuality/gender. Because, rereading my post, I'm merely calling out how your false equivalency is little more than noise.

It's really not that hard. We hate white privilege. It's just unfortunate that every white person enjoys it to a degree. So, yes, you can have an opinion on race relations - but you're opinion is not going to carry the same weight as a PoC. You don't deal with systematic racism - at most, you deal with rude comments on ONTD, and at the mall. Are they mean? Yes. But to expect kindness from angry, mistreated peoples is a pipe dream that only having a certain level of privilege in life would incline you to think is necessary. When PoC are lashing out, it's reactionary. Because, I hate to be the one to say it to you: We. Don't> Trust. You. it's nothing personal, but we've been token minority friends, the date that pisses of mom and dad, the culture that's been co-opted so that (general) you can feel worldly, the people that are still really from being considered less than human. We have yet to see a massive effort in place, from white people, to show that y'all respect us and see us as equals. Most recent example: Harlem Shake. PoC are still seen as novelties, or tools by society - which is predominantly white controlled.
Lena is a perfect storm of all the issues marginalized groups have had with the majority power, and she's praised (and boasts) that she's a representative of all.* That is a very big problem. When you make that sort of claim, then you better be ready to back it up, and if/when you can't? Brace yourself for a storm of criticism. And the internet is now giving us a means to speak out, regardless of our location, and find others dealing with the same shit. So what you're seeing here is lifetimes of hurt, rage, and distrust coming out full force. So the argument of letting bygones, be bygones, or ignoring the issue of race, or checking our anger, is a dismissive argument.

*in case you want to argue that she never said that - check her GG acceptance speech.
recognitions 23rd-Feb-2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
Stop comparing people disliking you bc you're white to actual racism. Racism isn't just people disliking you, it's being denied opportunities and being victimized because of your race.
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