Lena Dunham has drawn a strong amount of criticism for her response to allegations of sexual assault against Girls writer/executive producer Murray Miller. Actress Aurora Perrineau is accusing Miller of raping her during an encounter in 2012, a claim the writer denies. While this would likely just be the latest in the long string of allegations that have gone public in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Dunham herself is drawing most of the attention due to her response supporting Miller and claiming Perrineau’s accusations are part of the “3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.”
According to The Wrap, Perrineau — the daughter of Lost and OZ actor Harold Perrineau — took a polygraph in September related to the incident and filed a police report. While the actress wouldn’t elaborate to The Wrap apart from confirming she filed a police report, the polygraph was obtained and its statement recounts the night of the alleged incident where she “consumed some alcoholic beverages” at the Standard Hotel:
“He was flirting with me. I told him repeatedly that I was 17 years old,” Perrineau said in the statement.
The actress was with two friends, she said, and Miller asked one of them for a ride home “because he was drunk,” and the group agreed. Miller was 35 at the time.
She said everyone got out of the car at Miller’s home, and she did not want to, but “felt like I had to go along with everyone else.
“At some point, I woke up in Murray’s bed naked. He was on top of me having sexual intercourse with me. At no time did I consent to any sexual contact with Murray,” she said in the statement.
The Wrap adds that the West Hollywood Sheriff confirmed that a report had been filed on Friday and would be forward to the LAPD shortly after. Miller’s lawyer, Matthew Walerstein, responded with a statement denying the allegations and claiming that Perrineau sough monetary damages before seeking police involvement:
After being contacted several weeks ago by lawyers who–on Ms. Perrineau’s behalf–sought substantial monetary damages from him, Mr. Miller’s legal team gathered overwhelming evidence directly contradicting these false and offensive claims. Only after her demands for money were rebuffed did Ms. Perrineau go to the police. Mr. Miller looks forward to sharing all evidence and information with any and all authorities seeking the truth in this matter.
Perrineau’s mother, Brittany Perrieau, denied the claim that her daughter sought any money saying, “At no time have we ever asked Murray Miller for $1. There was never a demand for money ever made from anyone on behalf of Aurora or our family.”
While an investigation is suspected, Girls creator Lena Dunham and co-showrunner Jenni Konner sent a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that showed their support for Miller, claiming that their inside knowledge of the situation and having worked with him “for more than half a decade” show that the allegations are false:
During the windfall of deeply necessary accusations over the last few months in Hollywood, we have been thrilled to see so many women’s voices heard and dark experiences in this industry justified. It’s a hugely important time of change and, like every feminist in Hollywood and beyond, we celebrate. But during every time of change there are also incidences of the culture, in its enthusiasm and zeal, taking down the wrong targets. We believe, having worked closely with him for more than half a decade, that this is the case with Murray Miller. While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year. It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed. We stand by Murray and this is all we’ll be saying about this issue.
Dunham also posted a short statement on Twitter in support of Miller:
The response to this prompted many to criticize Dunham on Twitter, pointing out how the statement stands in contrast to her touted views on feminism and her past public statements saying that women don’t lie about rape:
No matter the outcome of the police investigation, Dunham and Konner’s statement comes at a time when many view the need to believe alleged victims of sexual assault is more important than ever before. It was sure to rub many the wrong way without the ongoing Weinstein aftermath, but that has only amplified the outrage.