Lena Dunham is not one to hold her tongue. The “Girls” star has become known for her controversial comments about sensitive subjects including rape and molestation. Now the actress has offended even more people with an article she wrote titled “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz.”
The piece, which ran in the New Yorker, asks “Do the following statements refer to (a) my dog or (b) my Jewish boyfriend?”
The article includes tidbits like “He doesn’t tip. And he never brings his wallet anywhere.” Another portion of the article adds “…he 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. They are sucked dry by their children, who ultimately leave them as soon as they find suitable mates.”
Fans and critics of Dunham alike have reacted strongly and swiftly to the article, which is part of the March 30 edition of the magazine. Dunham’s mother is Jewish and her father is Protestant.
A rep for the actress said she was not commenting on the story.
Abraham H. Foxman, the national director for the Anti-Defamation League, called Dunham's piece tasteless and troubling.
"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," Foxman stated. "We are surprised that the New Yorker chose to print it."
David Remnick, an editor for the New Yorker, defended the piece in a statement sent to FOX411.
"The Jewish-comic tradition is rich with the mockery of, and playing with, stereotypes. Anyone who has ever heard Lenny Bruce or Larry David or Sarah Silverman or who has read 'Portnoy's Complaint' knows that. Lena Dunham, who is Jewish and hugely talented, is a comic voice working in that vein. Richard Pryor and Chris Rock do the same about black stereotypes; Amy Schumer does it with women and gender. I don't mind if one reader or another didn't find the piece funny. People can differ on that. But considering all the real hatred and tragedy in the world, the people getting exercised about the so-called anti-Semitism of this comic piece, like those who railed at Philip Roth a generation or two ago, are, with respect, howling in the wrong direction."
A piece responding to Dunham’s article titled “Lena Dunham Equated Jews to Dogs & That’s Not OK” was published in Kveller, a popular Jewish parenting blog.
In the piece, Jordana Horn writes:“To dehumanize people, one of the first steps is to call them non-people or animals. The whole 'Jew and Dog' thing, in my mind, is pretty played out… I mean, look at this nice café in Belgium just last year that posted a sign saying, ‘Dogs are allowed in this establishment, but Jews are not, under any circumstances…’ All around the world, there are not-so-nice people who equate Jews and dogs. Welcome to their ranks, Lena. Are you proud to be there?"
Horn notes in her article that she was once considered Dunham to be “a kindred spirit” but can no longer count herself among the star’s fans. Many social media users expressed similar sentiments.
— Nahma Nadich (@NahmaNadich) March 27, 2015
— Allyson Kapin (@WomenWhoTech) March 27, 2015
— lauren miller (@beanmiller) March 27, 2015
Other users took to Twitter to slam the magazine for printing the controversial piece. A rep for the New Yorker did not immediately return FOX411’s requests for comment.
@NewYorker, substitute the word "black" for "Jew" in Lena Dunham's "Dog Or Jewish Boyfriend?" quiz, and tell me if you'd still print it.
— H Maryles Shankman (@hmshankman) March 27, 2015
— Ben Goldberg (@bendgold) March 27, 2015
@lenadunham disgusted by your "quiz" comparing dogs and your Jewish boyfriend. Not funny. Not ironic. Anti-Semitic!
— Laura Mardiks (@LauraMardiks) March 27, 2015
Messages in support of Dunham's article were few and far between, but one celebrity does count herself as a fan.
lena dunham great writer: http://t.co/80VpnOAItW
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) March 27, 2015
Dunham, who is generally very active on social media, has yet to tweet about the controversy.