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“I told a story about being a weird 7 year old,” Lena Dunham tweeted yesterday. “I bet you have some too, old men, that I’d rather not hear. And yes, this is a rage spiral.”
The story she’s referring to—published in her memoir Not That Kind of Girl—is about being curious about what her one-year-old sister’s vagina looked like, checking it out, and finding that her sister had stuffed some driveway pebbles in there.
But writer Kevin D. Williamson, who is known for taking hard-right positions that stir controversy, said in an essay for the National Review that it was “disturbing behavior that would be considered child abuse in many jurisdictions…sexual abuse, specifically, of her younger sister, Grace.”
Dunham, the writer and director of HBO’s “Girls,” who is known for telling stories about uncomfortable, awkward life moments, also wrote on Twitter that she would normally ignore what Williamson wrote, “but don’t demean sufferers, don’t twist my words, back the fuck up bros.”
She continued, “The right wing news story that I molested my little sister isn’t just LOL- it’s really fucking upsetting and disgusting.”
Dunham canceled scheduled appearances to promote the book in Antwerp and Berlin. Her sister didn’t directly address Williamson’s essay, but wrote on Twitter that “2day, like every other day, is a good day to think about how we police the sexualities of young women, queer, and trans people.”
Supporters have rallied around Dunham, even creating a Tumblr to share their own childhood stories of what the creators describe as “weird sexual shit we did as kids.”
Audrey Gelman, Dunham’s friend who’s also featured in the memoir, retweeted, from BuzzFeed editor Louis Peitzman, “Lena Dunham does not get a “pass” for her celebrity. She is picked apart mercilessly at every turn. It is transparent and shameful.”
Detractors, however, are agreeing with Williamson, saying that Dunham’s parents should have put a stop to her curiosity and given her more boundaries as a child. The most vehement critics are even calling for HBO to cancel her show.