Unlikely Rape Joke Comedian Lena Dunham Tweets Creepy Comment About Her ‘Uncle’

Lena Dunham tweeted an unfunny rape joke last night.

Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Out of all the celebrities whom I expected to hear rape jokes from, I admit that Lena Dunham was not one of them. Alas, on Sunday evening, Lena responded to a Twitterer who said, “you don’t always have to get naked” in response to her Saturday Night Live performance the night before. The choice to be naked somewhat frequently has been a source of constant criticism thrown at the Girls creator and star–often utilizing her figure’s differences from the “standard” actress body in the most negative ways possible–so I imagine that she’s exhausted of seeing this kind of message every day.

Sadly, she wound up making an unfunny joke in response, tweeting, “Please tell that to my uncle, mister. He’s been making me!” Oof. She subsequently deleted the tweet, but it’s been preserved in retweet form:

Yikes, indeed.

However, Lena did something that most people who make rape jokes do not do–apologized and admitted it wasn’t funny:



Rather than justifying her joke, she explained, said she was sorry and noted she knows better, just as any adult should. Plus, she acknowledged her choice to delete the tweet rather than pretending it never happened–something we should all know better than to do on the Internet, where things last forever no matter how convincingly you pretend they never happened.

So, while I’m disappointed she made the joke in the first place and can’t help but feel unsure of how genuine her apology was–after all, it’s hard not to be skeptical of celebrity apologies, particularly under the pressure of public criticism–I’m still glad she deleted it and responded the way she did. It’s infinitely better than the “you bitches are SO PC and nobody has a sense of humor anymore!!1″ self-reflection most people seem to have after being called out for comments like these.

[H/T FlavorWire]

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    • Kaitlin Reilly

      Yeah, that joke was cringe-worthy (and while I’m not the humor police, not funny at all) but I’m happy that Lena Dunham deleted it and apologized. I think most people have said something that they’ve regretted via social media, and it’s nice that she acknowledged it without becoming defensive.

      And I’m sure it’s really exhausting having to keep hearing the whole “Why are you naked?” thing. I’m sick of seeing comments about her body and how it’s offending people when HBO has been showing naked people (mostly women) forever.

    • Crusty Socks

      Does she have an uncle? Sucks for him if she does…

    • LiteBrite

      Well, at least she didn’t use the standard fall-back response of “It was taken out of context. I didn’t mean to say that….” Whether her apology is genuine or not is up for debate I guess, but at least she acknowledged she knew better. As should all of us.

      • Crusty Socks

        She just did the “I’m sleepy” excuse. Not too bad.

      • LiteBrite

        That’s a new one I haven’t heard.

        However, if she really was “sleepy” I can forgive her. I say some really ridiculous things when I’m exhausted too.

    • Kelly

      I have a pedophile uncle and I joke about it. It helps me deal with it. I’m tired of people getting so pissed off over everything. Many people use humor to deal with things, if you don’t like it, maybe just stop listening to that person instead of trying to shut them up. I manage to do it all the time.

      • Charmless

        I use humor to cope with trauma as well and, while I often find rape jokes unfunny, I’ve never found one truly offensive. While I accept that other victims may not use humor in the same way and may be further traumatized by jokes about rape and molestation and I will never pressure somebody to “get over” his or her triggers because I personally think it’s funny to talk about being drugged and assaulted, the thing that makes my eyes roll is when the rest of the population tries to tell me I’m not allowed to have my coping mechanism because of this all-encompassing fear of being seen as insensitive.

        In short, kudos to you. I’m sorry for what you experienced, but I’m glad you have ways to make it a bit less fucking terrible.

      • Samantha Escobar

        Eh, I used to occasionally joke about rape things. For me (personally, and I realize this is obviously not the case with everybody), it made it easier to ignore my own rapes. I get that people do that. In this case, though, given that she elaborated, apologized and deleted it, I didn’t get any inkling that this was a coping mechanism so much as a misguided snap at a rude person. You’re welcome to not get pissed off at these things, and I’m sorry you had to go through something like that, but my own opinion is that I don’t like rape jokes and I find them upsetting.

    • Rachel

      I’ve learned that rape/molestation jokes are only OK inside your home with friends and family you know and trust really well.