At the Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment event on Wednesday, Lena Dunham invited Brittany Perrineau to the stage. Last year Dunham said that Perrineau’s daughter, Aurora, had “misreported” when she told police that she was raped in 2012 by a writer for Dunham’s TV show “Girls.”
Aurora Perrineau told Los Angeles police last year that she was raped by Murray Miller in 2012, when she was 17 and he was 35. Miller’s lawyers denied this, at first claiming that Perrineau had only made her report after Miller refused to give her money, a statement they later retracted. On the day that the accusation was first reported, Dunham and her “Girls” co-showrunner Jenni Konner put out a statement supporting Miller, saying, “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.” The next day, facing an avalanche of criticism, Dunham apologized for the statement.
On Wednesday December 5, just before the event, Dunham wrote a longer-form essay apologizing to Perrineau directly. Published in the Hollywood Reporter, whose event it was, the essay admitted that her claim of “insider knowledge” was false — she had no such knowledge. Later that evening, Dunham took the stage at the Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Event and invited Perrineau’s mother, Brittany Perrineau, on stage, calling her a “dear friend.”
“I admire Brittany. I love her. I laugh with her,” she said, thanking both Perrineaus for their “love, forgiveness and bravery.” Because of their grace towards her, she said, “I learned to listen. I learned the ways in which my own heart and mind had been colonized by patriarchy, and the ways my own ignorance operated even as a survivor of multiple sexual assaults.”
Perrineau, who, according to the Hollywood Reporter, was weeping, said, “You hurt us. What you said was hurtful, denying survivors like you, me, Aurora and millions of others. It also showed how we are trained to blindly support perpetrators of terror because ‘they have to be right’…right?” She went on to say that she and her daughter “feel your love and receive your heartfelt apology.”
“Forgiveness is a powerful thing,” Perrineau went on. “And I think we need to redirect our anger at the perpetrators of these heinous assaults.”
In 2017, the Los Angeles District Attorney declined to charge Miller, saying that the statute of limitations had expired, and also that the evidence provided included “inconsistencies which cannot be overcome,” which would make it impossible for the D.A. to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard of proof required for a rape case.
Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny