“Girls” creator Lena Dunham deconstructed “maniacal… hellhound” Donald Trump and confirmed that she had no desire to be “bossed around by a dude” in her career after “Girls” ends next year at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in New York on Thursday.
“I don’t have a case of great-man syndrome,” she deadpanned to a room overflowing with 150-plus leading female executives from media, entertainment, theater and advertising. “The be-all and end-all for me wouldn’t be like if a dude called me up and said, ‘It’s finally your time.'”
She continued: “It sounds so tiring to get bossed around by a dude for six months…. I just want to write and direct and create opportunities for other women.”
Dunham was not the only defiantly confident woman among a series of leaders who spoke at TheWrap’s second annual gathering of influential women in media and entertainment.
Journalist Katie Couric talked about the challenge facing women in media. “We are seeing some progress but unfortunately it does not seem fast enough,” she said.
The Yahoo News anchor noted how there are still significant shortfalls in women landing key on-camera roles. “There are some bright spots, but it is somewhat disheartening that we’re not seeing greater numbers,” she said. “I look at the Sunday shows and they’re all men hosting the shows. We need to get diversity in every aspect in both news and entertainment.”
Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, making a special appearance in honor of the new History Channel reboot of “Roots.”
Rose said the experience of playing Kizzy, a slave, was very intense: “We were actually on a plantation in slave cabins in New Orleans in August which is more than a notion in itself. It was a great honor to bring this woman to life and to show her in tribute to all the people who came before me.”
She added: “For me when I left the set I walked the city, I rode a bike… but I ate and I ate to the And for me that was comforting.”
A panel discussion on women and diversity featured The Girl’s Lounge Founder Shelley Zalis; Change the Ratio founder Rachel Sklar; Digitalundivided founder Kathryn Finney and The Pink Ceiling founder Cindy Whitehead.
Finney emphasized that women need to both invest in women of color, and mentor them individually.
The breakfast was hosted by TheWrap’s CEO and Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman; film and theater producer Paula Wagner; A+E Networks President and CEO Nancy Dubuc and The Girl’s Lounge Founder Shelley Zalis.
The breakfast drew a standing-room-only crowd of notable women, including actress Gabrielle Union of “Being Mary Jane,” actress Ana Gasteyer of SNL and “Grease Live,” “Eclipsed” actresses Zainab Jah and Pascale Armand, and director Liesl Tommy; Anoushka Healy, Chief Strategy Officer for News Corp; Caroline Webb, CEO of Sevenshift; Broadway actress Patina Miller of “Sister Act”; actress Jackie Cruz of “Orange Is the New Black”; Alexandra Kerry and Lucy Donnelly, producers of Maggie’s Plan; actress Lucy Walters of “Power”; Entrepreneur Gail Becker; Gina Hadley, Founder and CEO of The Second Shift; Heidi Messer, Chairman and Co-Founder of Collective[i]; Jessica Tabin, Vice President of Creative Impact Agency; Lauren Pruneski and Terri McCullough, CMO and CEO of the Clinton Foundation; Lisa Sun, Founder and CEO of Project Gravitas; and Randi Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media.
Dunham said she never expected to be talking about Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, at this point. “I didn’t think we’d be having a real serious conversation about Donald Trump,” Dunham said, calling the real estate mogul-turned-politician a “maniacal, misogynist, racist, Islamophobic, ableist, transphobic hellhound.”
Dunham is a Clinton supporter and says she was “really moved” when Clinton became the nominee on Tuesday night, but the biggest applause of the breakfast came when the “Girls” creator was asked about Bernie Sanders.
“It’s an illusion that a 75-year-old white man is portrayed as the fix to a huge systemic problem,” she said.
Dunham and Couric were featured speakers at the breakfast which brought leading women of New York’s entertainment and media communities together. Dunham was the first speaker and admitted that she wants to focus on directing and writing when “Girls” ends after the season that is currently filming.
“There is such a dearth of roles for women, I would like to be the person that brings more of those,” Dunham said, adding that hate for her “Girls” character is the result of a double standard among men and women characters.
“Hannah is just a little annoying, she’s never killed anyone, Dunham said. “People love Tony Soprano.”
Waxman, film and theater producer Paula Wagner, A+E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc and The Girl’s Lounge Founder Shelley Zalis hosted the breakfast that celebrates the personal journeys of accomplished female leaders.
The Power Women Breakfast series brings together influential women of entertainment, media, technology and brands in key cities to network and connect. TheWrap has built a broad community of professional women who are decision makers and mothers, leaders and wives, innovators and activists now in four cities Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C.
Previous speakers at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast series have included Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren, comedian Chelsea Handler, Game of Thrones’ actress Emilia Clarke, activist-actress Selma Hayek, ‘Billions’ star Malin Akerman, producer and entrepreneur Gail Berman, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd, media executive Nancy Tellem, digital executive Susan Lyne, technology journalist Kara Swisher and many others.