Lena Dunham has always been outspoken. And since she isn’t the type of person to censor herself, the writer/director/actress has gotten herself in a higher-than-typical amount of controversy over the last few years. But now a new confrontation has the embattled Dunham quitting Twitter for good and apologizing to a website.
“I really appreciate that anybody follows me at all, and so I didn’t want to cut off my relationship to [Twitter] completely,” says the “Girls” star. “But it really, truly wasn’t a safe space for me.”
The controversy began when Dunham appeared on the podcast “Re/code Decode,” making some disparaging comments that compared the website Gawker to an abusive husband.
“I used to read Gawker and Jezebel in college and be like, ‘I can’t wait to get to New York where my people will be to welcome me,'” she says. “And it’s like, it’s literally, if I read it, it’s like going back to a husband who beat me in the face — it just doesn’t make any sense.”
And although Dunham says on the same podcast that she can no longer enjoy Twitter because of the comments she receives as an outspoken public figure, she is still on Instagram. Responding to the Gawker blow-back, she posted a picture of a sorry note.
“In a recent interview I compared reading certain websites that have repeatedly insulted me to returning to a physically abusive husband again and again. When I heard my own quote I was like ‘Jesus, Lena, no,'” she writes. “I wasn’t making a joke about domestic violence — I was over emphatic in my attempt to capture how damaging the Internet can be (not just to celebrities).”
Discussing such feelings about the double-edged sword of social media and the Internet, Dunham says: “When I first discovered the world wide web as a teenager it felt like salvation. I’ve met a lot of my best friends there. It’s allowed for so much magic. But it also makes room for so much hate and a new kind of violence. I’m not the first to say it. I shan’t be the last.”
“I regret that earlier comparison, because it doesn’t accurately describe the condition of being attacked online AND it appears to make light of domestic violence, which ain’t my style.”
As for her self-imposed Twitter exile, Dunham says that she’ll be content to let someone else wade through the hate replies going forward. A big part of that decision is related not only to controversies like the Gawker clash, but also the sort of hate she received after recently posting a picture in her underwear.
“It wasn’t a graphic picture,” she explains. “I was wearing men’s boxers, and it turned into the most rabid, disgusting debate about women’s bodies.”