Lena Dunham's Surprising Jezebel Shout-out on 'Girls'

Lena Dunham February Vogue Cover - P 2014
Annie Leibovitz

Lena Dunham February Vogue Cover - P 2014

The heated controversy over Jezebel's $10,000 bounty for nonphotoshopped pictures of Lena Dunham from Annie Liebovitz's cover shoot for Vogue is about to take an ironic turn.

For those who have not been following along: Jezebel editors wanted to see photos of what they surely expected to be yet another example of the "insidious" and self-esteem obliterating practice of postproduction nipping and tucking at women's magazines. The site has basically cornered the market on the Photoshop reveal. But it turned out that Vogue's photos of Dunham were minimally retouched and Dunham's co-star Adam Driver also came in for some smoothing and sculpting. (Interestingly, Dunham's February 2013 Rolling Stone cover did not inspire a similar investigative effort.)

STORY: Jezebel Offers $10,000 for Unretouched Lena Dunham Vogue Photos

This time Jezebel's trolling appears to have backfired as the outrage has mostly been directed at the site for attempting to hide behind a feminist mantle as it ogles an actress of nontraditional-by-Hollywood-standards proportions in a quest for easy page clicks. 

So regular Girls watchers might be surprised to hear Dunham's Hannah Horvath defend Jezebel, which is part of the Gawker Media empire, in this Sunday's episode of the HBO series. 

In the scene, Hannah is having a disagreement with Adam, who does not think she should be getting her "news" from Gawker, which, he contends, is staffed by "a bunch of jealous people who make a living appealing to our basest desire to see each other kicked while we're down."

Hannah protests: "It's a web portal that celebrates the written word. And its sister site, Jezebel, is a place where feminists can go to support one another, which we need in this modern world of slut-shaming …"

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The episode, titled "Dead Inside," was shot months before the Jezebel contretemps. The scene may have been intended as a clever bit of satire because Dunham has been in the Gawker crosshairs since she shot to stardom on the HBO series. In December 2012, the site published Dunham’s entire 66-page Random House book proposal, characterizing it as "nauseating" and "cloying." Her lawyers successfully had it removed.

Of course, in real life, Dunham is not defending the Gawker sister site.

"Some shit is just too ridiculous to engage," she tweeted in response to Jezebel's photo offer. The next day, she added: "Way cooler when people do things out of pure blind spite than out of faux altruism."