Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | 1,045 day ago

Lena Dunham's Publishers To Change That Rape Passage

The Debrief: Don’t worry, they’re fully on her side, and she’s had some great things to say, too...

We recently brought you the story of a man called Barry who matches, in some respects, with Lena Dunham’s description of the man who raped her while she was at Oberlin College. He’s not very happy that she didn’t state that Barry was a pseudonym, and so his lawyer, Aaron Minc, is raising money so that he can launch legal action against her.

It fits in with one journalist’s 4,000-word investigation (seriously) for Breitbart to find out whether or not she was actually raped. His conclusion was that, if there was no-one who fitted the exact description of the rapist from her book, Not That Kind of Girl, then she can’t have been raped, and so is crying rape. Really, this is the logic of some people.

Anyway, Lena’s publisher Random House has stepped in, and it’s been kind of awesome. They’ve said that they’ll change her book, simply so that it clearly states that ‘Barry’ is a pseudonym, so as to not incriminate the guy called Barry who went to Oberlin and is a Republican but never even met Lena.

They’ve also said that they’ll pay this Barry the money he’s already spent on legal counsel. However, they’ve provided a pretty great suggestion for what they can do with that crowd-fund they’ve cobbled together. The Wrap reports the publishing company’s statement: ‘We are offering to pay the fees Mr. Minc has billed his client to date. Our offer will allow Mr. Minc and his client to donate all of the crowd-funding raised to not-for-profit organizations assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault.’

Excuse us while we get to some air-punching. Wherever you stand on Lena Dunham, the publisher’s acknowledgement that the only reason it’s so terrible to falsely accuse someone of rape is because rape itself is absolutely abhorrent is just very spot-on. Before we look to coddle those who aren’t even directly accused of rape (Lena used pseudonyms throughout her book for certain people, the book was prefaced with, ‘Some names and identifying details have been changed,’ and there are aspects of her ‘Barry’ that do not match up to the man who’s tried to mount legal action), we should look to seek justice and care for those who have been raped.

So well done, Random House, and we eagerly await what’s going to happen to that $25,150 (£13,548), especially when the creator of the crowd-funding site, the not-Barry-but-called-Barry’s lawyer, has responded to the news from Random House with this: ‘We have yet to hear from Ms. Dunham, who is the only person with first-hand knowledge who can truly exonerate “Barry One’s” reputation. It is unfathomable to us that she remains silent.’

As for Lena herself? She’s written a great piece for Buzzfeed about her experience here, saying, amongst lots of other things we want to quote right now: ‘I hoped beyond hope that the sensitive nature of the event would be honored, and that no one would attempt to reopen these wounds or deepen my trauma.

‘But this did not prove to be the case. I have had my character and credibility questioned at every turn.’

‘At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what is written about me individually. I accept the realities of being in the public eye. But I simply cannot allow my story to be used to cast doubt on other women who have been sexually assaulted.’

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

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Picture: Rex

Tags: Lena Dunham, Rape