Carol Costello: Campus Rape Issue Takes 'Ugly Turn' With Lena Dunham Critics

December 11th, 2014 1:02 PM

Carol Costello, who got a kick out of the assault on Bristol Palin, lamented on Thursday's CNN Newsroom that "the national conversation surrounding sexual assault on campus has taken kind of an ugly turn. It's become this he-said, she-said politically-tinged fight." Costello cited the attention on Lena Dunham's rape claim in her memoir as an example.

The anchor also spotlighted how conservative blog RedState attacked the left-wing TV producer on Wednesday (it should be pointed out that the anchor did not censor RedState's curse word, nor did CNN bleep her when she read the quote):

CAROL COSTELLO: ...In her memoir, Lena Dunmam (sic) wrote of a conservative man named Barry, who assaulted her back in college. He resembles a – a real-life Barry, who attended school at the same time and had absolutely nothing to do with Dunham's allegations. Dunham has apologized to the real-life Barry, but others have attacked her credibility – calling her 'narcissistic.'

This is what RedState writes this morning – quote, 'The idea that there is any 'risk' involved in a woman reporting a sexual assault is simply bullshit on a biscuit. Papers don't report the names of accusers. If there is any risk involved in today's sexual climate, it attaches firmly to the man. There is a definite element of 'me-too-ism' in her story. Whether her story actually happened outside of her fevered imagination is another question.'

Costello then read Dunham's defense of her rape account from Buzzfeed. However, she failed to mention that the author's publisher is now "tweaking" (as the New York Times put it) the rape account in the memoir, after the "real-life Barry" claimed that Dunham "unfairly cast suspicion on him as a sexual predator" in that chapter: "Random House said it would make changes to the e-book and to future printings of physical editions to clarify that the man Ms. Dunham describes isn't named Barry, and offered to pay [his] legal fees."

Conservatives are not the only ones targeting the feminist HBO star. Back in November 2014, The Daily Beast's Samantha Allen contended that Dunham's "reputation is upheld by a group of ardent supporters—predominantly white feminists—who will never fully disavow her, no matter how grave her perceived misdeeds." Allen then outlined how "people of color in activist communities...have long critiqued Dunham for her problematic statements on race" and wondered when "white feminists [will] finally dump Lena Dunham."