'Girls' EP Jenni Konner Defends Lena Dunham From New York Post Take-Down

Firing back at columnist Linda Stasi, the showrunner says: "I feel terrible and sad for the woman who wrote that."
Jenni Konner and Lena Dunham.

Girls executive producer Jenni Konner hasn't read Linda Stasi's brutal review of the second season of the HBO series, but she heard about it -- and she's got some choice words for the New York Post columnist.

"I feel terrible and sad for the woman who wrote that -- that she thinks anything that what Lena [Dunham] does is anything but brave and fabulous," Konner told The Hollywood Reporter at Girls' premiere in New York City on Wednesday.

The column in question, published earlier this week, was less a "review" than a hit piece mocking Dunham's body. Calling the 26-year-old actress-writer-producer a "pathological exhibitionist," Stasi proceeded to tear her down, Donald Trump-style: "It’s not every day in the TV world of anorexic actresses with fake boobs that a woman with giant thighs, a sloppy backside and small breasts is compelled to show it all. It’s a boon for the out-of-shape, and perhaps a giant economic loss for high-end gyms, especially in Brooklyn."

Konner's response? "That that woman got to the age she's at and still feels like there are rules about what kind of body you can show is sad for her.

STORY: 'The Rise of Lena Dunham'

Stasi also focused on physical appearance while comparing the life-and-love trajectories of Hannah (Dunham) and her best friend Marnie (Allison Williams).

"Interestingly, the gorgeous Marnie is the one who is now totally unlucky in love. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be smart, breathtakingly beautiful, nice and kind. Not when there are blobbies who are willing to take their clothes off in public constantly — even when they aren’t in character," sniped Stasi.

Unsurprisingly, the blogosphere recoiled in disgust. Slate's Alyssa Rosenberg called the piece "Impressively nasty," writing: "Reactions like Stasi's -- and the presumption that the primary and most important function of any woman who appears on screen is to be sexually attractive to the audience -- are exactly why it's rare to see bodies like Dunham's on television."

Over at Jezebel, writer Katie J.M. Baker criticized it as "outlandishly horrifying."

Meanwhile, Dunham is enjoying the success of her show and also her first Golden Globe nominations in the categories of best actress in a comedy and also best comedy. (If Girls wins the latter prize, Konner says she'll cede the speech to Dunham, her good friend and co-showrunner.)

As THR's Marisa Guthrie observed in her profile of Dunham, "most women Dunham’s age who find success in Hollywood are ingenues, actresses or the ubiquitous model-turned-actress. In other words, women whose sheer beauty makes them famous, all of which makes her even more unusual, un-pigeonholeable and galling to her critics — many of them anonymous online hate spewers as well as bloggers, journalists and media personalities." 

“Since when is the struggle for self-acceptance mock-worthy?" countered HBO Entertainment president Sue Naegle. "Our culture sets an impossible standard for the female body and then criticizes those who don’t achieve it."

Twitter: @ErinLCarlson

Email: erin.carlson@thr.com