Photo: REX USA/Everett Collection.
Lena Dunham's Twitter feed is one of the few that is clearly run by the actual celebrity in question, rather than a standard PR team. So, it's not surprising that Dunham chose to publicly express her disgust about the multiple accusations of rape leveraged against R. Kelly. Perhaps even more surprising? Many of her followers have called her criticisms invalid, and even questioned her right to identify as feminist. The resounding reason behind all the backlash seems to be the actress' recent spread with the controversial photographer Terry Richardson, a man not immune to accusations and sex crimes, including inappropriate behavior with young models.
There's nothing wrong with pointing out that, erm, fraternizing with Richardson might imply approval of his actions and a willingness to overlook the many women who have come forward against him. It's a valid question to bring up, especially considering that Richardson has photographed a dauntingly powerful list of notable public figures, from Obama to Oprah, generally in the employ of established magazines. In the context of R. Kelly, another star who has basically gotten a free pass due to notoriety, it's actually an essential point to bring up. Indeed, Dunham has worked with him (and probably knows him on a personal level, considering he's boyfriend to a good friend of hers, Audrey Gelman). But, the vitriol that Dunham experienced isn't getting anyone anywhere, and would be better directed at the photographer himself.
One more thing we'd like to point out: Hanging around and even glossing over someone like Richardson does not put someone on the same level as R. Kelly. There's a key operative that is present in one situation and not in the other: choice. Lena Dunham made a choice to hang out with Richardson, and not to be a vocal activist about his reputation as a sexual predator. That may have been the wrong choice. But, the girls who were victims of R. Kelly made no choices, because they were either forced, or too young to consent, or most likely a mix of the two. Let's not lose sight of the dark, saddening "prize," here. Actually, we think, in the end, Dunham said it best:
'Nuff said. There are many things to fault Dunham for, but this doesn't seem like the time nor the place.