Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Lena Dunham Slammed by ADL for ‘Tasteless’ New Yorker Piece

The Anti-Defamation League has called Lena Dunham’s recent controversial piece in the New Yorker “tasteless” and “offensive.”

“Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” a piece by the 28-year-old actress and writer of the popular HBO show “Girls,” is a list of 35 statements that begins by asking the reader “Do the following statements refer to (a) my dog or (b) my Jewish boyfriend?”

The ADL objected to several of Dunham’s statements, including ones that imply that her boyfriend “doesn’t tip,” “never brings his wallet anywhere” and “comes from a culture in which mothers focus every ounce of their attention on their offspring and don’t acknowledge their own need for independence as women.”

“Some will certainly find Lena Dunham’s stereotypes about cheap Jews offensive. Others will take issue with the very idea of comparing a dog and a Jewish boyfriend,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement issued Friday.

“The piece is particularly troubling because it evokes memories of the ‘No Jews or Dogs Allowed’ signs from our own early history in this country, and also because, in a much more sinister way, many in the Muslim world today hatefully refer to Jews as ‘dogs,’” Foxman’s statement continued.

Since 2012, Dunham’s boyfriend in real life has been Jack Antonoff, the guitarist for the band Fun.,who attended Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, N.J. Dunham has a Jewish mother and Protestant father.

The ADL statement acknowledged that the piece was intended to be humorous:

We doubt that Ms. Dunham had any intention of evoking such comparisons. While we understand that humor is its own special brand of expression and always try to give leeway to comedians, we wish that she had chosen another, less insensitive way to publicly reflect on her boyfriend’s virtues and vices.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.