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Lena Dunham Says Hollywood Is 'Rigged' as She Admits Privilege Helped Her Early in Her Career

People logo People 6/30/2020 Jodi Guglielmi
Lena Dunham standing posing for the camera © Stewart Cook/Variety/Shutterstock Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham's privilege is not lost on her.

Dunham responded to critics who pointed to her early success as the star, writer and executive producer of the hit HBO series Girls at the age of 23 as a prime example of white privilege.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, the actress said she agreed that the "Hollywood system is rigged in favor of white people" — but admitted that it took her a while to come to that understanding.

"Whenever I found out I'm trending, I have to immediately check if I'm alive! Then, I try and see if there's a constructive dialogue to have on Twitter. Often there isn't, but today there really WAS," she wrote. "It actually wasn't a dialogue - it was just me agreeing that the Hollywood system is rigged in favor of white people and that my career took off at a young age with relative ease, ease I wasn't able to recognize because I also didn't know what privilege was."

Lena, 34, said she's spent the last decade learning and growing, which has allowed her to now understand what she needs to do to help bring about change.

"The past ten years have been a series of lessons. The lesson now? Sit down. Shut up, unless it's to advocate for change for Black people," she wrote. "Listen. Make art in private for awhile- no one needs your book right now lady. Give reparations widely. Defund the police. Rinse & repeat."

Dunham began trending online after a past interview with the Hollywood Reporter resurfaced, in which she opened up about her lack of preparation for her initial pitch meeting with HBO to discuss Girls.

RELATED: Lena Dunham Says She Would 'Love' to Make a Girls Movie

Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet sitting on a bench posing for the camera: Girls © Provided by People Girls

"I mean, it is the worst pitch you’ve ever read,” she said, revealing that she had not yet developed a character or overall plot for the show. "It was like, 'They're everything, they're nothing, they're everywhere, they're nowhere.' It’s pretentious and horrifying, but I remember sitting on the floor, listening to Tegan and Sara in my underwear, being like, 'I'm a genius.' "

The daughter of artists Caroll Dunham and Laurie Simmons, Dunham made a name for herself with the 2010 film Tiny Furniture, which caught the attention of HBO executives and Judd Apatow.

Girls ran for six seasons from 2012-2017 and followed a group of four young women trying to make it in New York City. The show, also starring Jemima KirkeAllison Williams and Zosia Mamet, won a Golden Globe Award in 2013.


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