Where does "serial rapist/killer" rank on the scale of offensive Halloween costumes?

Lena Dunham's Paul Bernardo joke draws fire

Has Girls creator and star Lena Dunham crossed the line?

A remark by Lena Dunham — the creator and star of the hit HBO comedy Girls — that she wants her celebrity friends to dress as Canadian serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka for Halloween while she accompanies them as a victim, has created a firestorm of controversy.

“You guys go as killer Canadian couple Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka. I’ll be her sister they murdered. Scariest! Luv U” tweeted the 26-year-old Dunham to two of her friends, B.J. Novak and actress Mindy Kaling (both writer/actors from the NBC series The Office) on Tuesday.

“I think the families would be extremely hurt and disturbed by this action,” said Canadian lawyer Tim Danson, who represented victims’ families in the trial of Bernardo and Homolka in an interview. “There are certain circumstances that you don’t make light of. That’s when the magnitude of the crime is so horrific. And she just crossed that line.”

Wayne Sumner, philosophy professor emeritus at the University of Toronto’s Centre For Ethics called the tweet “in colossally bad taste.”

Danson compared the act to Prince Harry wearing a Nazi costume in 2005.

“People like to sensationalize in an attempt to get attention. But they forget there are real people out there who are still suffering from this,” said Danson.

Bernardo and Homolka are among Canada's most notorious serial killers. In 1995 Bernardo was convicted of two first degree murders and two aggravated sexual assaults and sentenced to life in prison. Homolka, who testified against Bernardo in his murder trial was released in 2005 after being sentenced to 12 years in prison for manslaughter.

Dunham got some support from friends including one tweet that asked “Wow. So hilarious. Are they going to rip your finger nails off like they did to her?”

Others were not as supportive including one tweet that said: “Woah, that’s messed up.”

Philosophy professor Sumner says he is familiar with Dunham’s series — which has been dubbed a younger, grittier version of Sex and the City, minus the Manolo Blahniks — but is disappointed in her actions. “Girls is terrifically written. And in many ways she’s quite brave in her acting. But this time she tried too hard to be controversial and conspicuous.”


Eta: Tweet link.

ngl, I'm one of those people that is pretty satisfied when she's continually called out on her try-hard unfunny jokes. On the other hand, pretty sure it wouldn't happen so often if she was a man.