Actress Lena Dunham recently announced that she would be writing a movie, adapted from a book, about Syrian refugees — and many on the social justice left are not happy.
Lena Dunham celebrated the news Monday that she will adapt a screenplay from the book “A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival,” for a movie to be produced by Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams.
Dunham announced the gig, saying she’s “very lucky” to “support this truth with these people.”
Very lucky to have this job, to tell this story, to support this truth with these people. ❤️ https://t.co/EgcRfKA0ks
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 29, 2018
However, several people took issue with Dunham having this position, as she is an upper-class white American woman, and not Syrian or a refugee.
Lena Dunham is writing a movie about a real-life Syrian refugee who was stranded at sea with her two children.
And people are asking why a Middle Eastern writer isn’t involved: pic.twitter.com/cDze3HDnrd
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 29, 2018
I shouldn’t have to say it: Lena Dunham should not be writing a movie about a Syrian refugee. But I need to say it, because the erasure of MENA ppl from Western media is rarely acknowledged. LENA DUNHAM SHOULD NOT BE WRITING A STORY ABOUT A SYRIAN REFUGEE.
— tina hassannia (@tinahassannia) October 29, 2018
haven’t syrians suffered enough?? https://t.co/mkuqgPnkT6
— gabriela barkho (@gabrielabarkho) October 29, 2018
If I ever live a life worth writing about please don’t hire Lena Dunham to tell my story.
— Ben Siemon (@BenjaminJS) October 29, 2018
What in the entire fuck???!!!! Next y’all will cast Lindsay Lohan as the lead. pic.twitter.com/yqIyShHVtJ
— Under His Eye Heaux (@kelleent) October 29, 2018
Lena Dunham is trending so I’d like to remind people she doesn’t represent all millennials, women, pro-choice advocates, dog owners, people with a modicum of self-awareness, etc. 🏻♀️
— Kim Horcher (@kimscorcher) October 29, 2018
Can I respectfully suggest that if this project happens, you involve as many Syrians and refugees as possible in the making of it? You have a huge platform to get stories out, but I think it would be a sign of good faith to include the people whose story you are telling.
— Nasri Atallah (@NasriAtallah) October 29, 2018
I don’t enjoy how much the internet hates you, but I can’t stay silent. I believe it is up to white women to help educate other white women, even if I am much younger than you. So Lena, PLEASE DON’T DO THIS. This is not your story to tell. Let an actual Syrian tell it. PLEASE!!!!
— Jianna (@jianna_rae) October 29, 2018
Question: Why is Lena Dunham writing a film about a Syrian refugee? What insight does she have into the experience of being a refugee or even what it means to be Syrian? I’m genuinely baffled how execs/producers who talk about lack of representation think this is a good idea?
— Raisah Ahmed (@RaisahAhmed) October 30, 2018
in what fucking world, when you are one of the greatest fucking minds in cinema, would it ever fucking occur to you to agree to produce for LENA DUNHAM out of ALL THE POSSIBLE MIDDLE EASTERN OR BETTER FITTED WRITERS POSSIBLE for a movie about middle eastern suffering
— villeneuve (@eyeswidekubrick) October 29, 2018
Though Dunham has often positioned herself as a champion of feminist and social justice causes, she has also been known to often raise the ire of the social justice crowd. Her signature HBO show Girls was popular, but was also attacked by some critics for it’s overt “whiteness.”
The 32-year-old also raised eyebrows last fall for defending a girls producer, Murray Miller, who was accused of committing sexual misconduct in 2012.
Dunham and co-creator Jenni Konner released a statement defending him. “While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year,” the statement read.
She quickly apologized for defending him, saying, “We regret this decision with every fiber of our being.”
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) November 19, 2017
“Every woman who comes forward deserves to be heard, fully and completely, and our relationship to the accused should not be part of the calculation anyone makes when examining her case.”
In her 2014 memoir Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham accused a “campus Republican” named Barry of raping her at Oberlin College while she was a 19-year-old student at the school. She waited months to admit that she lied about that claim.