Latest Lenny Letter tells of Lena Dunham’s ‘sexist’ encounter with producer

Lena Dunham's inappropriate encounter with a male TV producer was the focus of a recent Lenny Letter.
Lena Dunham's inappropriate encounter with a male TV producer was the focus of a recent Lenny Letter. Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Jenni Konner, co-showrunner on Girls, detailed a sexist encounter Lena Dunham had with a TV producer/director in last Tuesday’s Lenny Letter newsletter.

According to Konner, the unnamed male producer/director “cornered” Dunham while she was at a restaurant and showed her a lewd photograph on his phone. He then asked her to convince an actress on his show to bare more skin on camera.

“The director asked Lena to have dinner alone the following night with an actress on the show he works on,” Konner wrote in the newsletter. “Not because he thought they should meet, but because he wanted Lena to persuade the actress to show [more nudity] on TV. Surely Lena could make a compelling argument. After all, he continued, ‘You would show anything. Even your a–hole.’”

Konner used Dunham’s experience as a glaring example of the pervasive sexism in Hollywood.

“This is something a man felt compelled to say to a Golden Globe-winning actor, showrunner, and best-selling author who just happens to be female. So it’s easy to speculate what might be said to women working with him, under him, dependent on his approval,” she wrote.

READ MORE: Obama pens powerful essay on feminism, says ‘It’s men’s responsibility to fight sexism too’ 

It’s common, Konnor says, for people to automatically attempt to connect with Dunham on an otherwise inappropriate level because she is so frank about her body and her sexuality on TV. They seem to think it’s OK to approach her with comments or requests that cross the line of propriety.

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“We run one of the filthiest writers’ rooms. You could argue we run one of the filthiest shows. Let me tell you why this is different. The writers’ room is a space where creative people need to feel safe taking chances. Even if they are offensive. This man approached a woman at a social gathering and asked her to help convince an actor to show her [breasts]. It’s another planet.”

Konnor also noted that respected male colleagues reacted to Dunham’s experience by saying the TV producer was drunk. “When women get drunk, they are asking for it. When men get drunk, they don’t mean it,” she wrote.

She closed the letter with a plea to women to speak up when they are victims of sexist behaviour, noting that the only thing preventing change is a lack of accountability on the part of men. “Our voices are our superpower,” she concluded.