Lena Dunham On 'Girls' Racial Backlash: "It Was an Educational, Painful Process for Me"

"I had been thinking so much about sort of representing weirdo girls and chubby girls and strange half-Jews that I had forgotten that there was an entire world of women who were being underserved.”

Lena Dunham, the creator and star of HBO's Girls, understands the criticism she faced after the show's first season concerning the overwhelmingly white cast that seemingly misrepresented the reality of a multicultural Brooklyn.

While speaking on The Hollywood Reporter's Comedy Actress Roundtable, Dunham explained, "I had been thinking so much about sort of representing weirdo girls and chubby girls and strange half-Jews that I had forgotten that there was an entire world of women who were being underserved.”

She said she learned that, "It is our job as creators to represent more than our own experience and to represent more than what we've seen." She also expressed gratitude toward those who made her aware of her duty, saying, "It ultimately made the show better and made me stronger as a feminist and an activist and a thinker."

Dunham noted a particular experience of overt sexism between her and a male guest star on Girls, but praises Girls executive producer Judd Apatow as an ultra-feminist.

"[He] is the best man in the world. All he would say is like, 'You are women. You are deities. Let me kiss your feet.'”

The actress joined Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) and Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) for the Roundtable, where some the year's hottest television actresses discussed weighty topics such as racism and sexism in Hollywood while remaining unfiltered, frank and funny.

The full Comedy Actress Roundtable aired on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, Aug. 16, at 11 a.m. EST on Sundance TV. Tune in this Sunday for the next episode.

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