Lena Dunham‘s publisher has responded to a story on conservative blog Breitbart News which questioned the validity of rape allegations in the actress’ memoir, as well as her silence since coming forward with the sexual assault claims. The detailed report on Breitbart also called into question Dunham possibly misidentifying the man who she calls “Barry” in the book.
“As indicated on the copyright page of ‘Not That Kind of Girl’ by Lena Dunham, some names and identifying details in the book have been changed. The name ‘Barry’ referenced in the book is a pseudonym,” the publisher told TheWrap exclusively. “Random House, on our own behalf and on behalf of our author, regrets the confusion that has led attorney Aaron Minc to post on GoFundMe on behalf of his client, whose first name is Barry.”
“We are offering to pay the fees Mr. Minc has billed his client to date,” the company continued. “Our offer will allow Mr. Minc and his client to donate all of the crowd-funding raised to not-for-profit organizations assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault.”
At the time of this writing, Minc and his client have raised $23,207. It’s GoFundMe goal is listed at $100,000.
TheWrap reached out to Minc — an internet defamation attorney — but we were told he was busy at the time and could not speak on the phone. Minc’s office did confirm that he had not seen the statement and asked that we send it to him. We did, swapping a few brief emails with Minc, but did not instantly receive an official statement back.
In her book, Dunham identifies a man who she claims sexually assaulted her in college as a Republican named Barry. A Breitbart investigation led the website to come up empty on a man fitting the very colorful additional description painted by Dunham, which included particulars such as a “flamboyant” mustache, a very deep voice and purple cowboy boots.
That said, some of the basics pointed toward Minc’s client, whose name is Barry and was a well-known Republican who attended liberal arts school Oberlin College at the time Dunham was a student there. Minc’s client says he never even met Dunham.
Breitbart’s investigation led writer John Nolte to believe that the details could not possibly have pointed to the man he dubbed “Barry One,” the person a reader might assume is the man Dunham is referring to in her book. The blog post noted that Dunham’s people and publisher did not return calls after multiple attempts. It also pointed a finger at Dunham for not clearing up the allegations when she had the opportunity to do so.
“Anyone with half a brain and access to Google has already discovered that, during Dunham’s time at Oberlin College, there was a prominent Republican named Barry who was politically active and quite well-known,” Nolte wrote.
In his original investigative post, Nolte had brushed off the idea that “Barry” could have been a pseudonym, as Dunham did not specify nor use quotes. At another part in her memoir, Dunham does specify when changing a party’s name, Nolte wrote.
Nolte recounts sexually explicit details from Dunham’s memoir: that “Barry” inserted his fingers in her vagina at one point without consent and later, during a particularly rough sexual encounter, removed his condom twice also without consent. The blogger also notes that Dunham replied “yes” when radio personality Howard Stern asked her on air if she had been raped.
The alleged assault occurred when Dunham was 19.
(Updated 9:46 p.m. ET: The attorney for the man referred to below as “Barry One,” Aaron Minc, told TheWrap that future versions of Lena Dunham‘s memoir “Not That Kind of Girl” will be altered to reflect that “Barry” is a pseudonym, and not the real name of the man the “Girls” star alleges sexually assaulted her at Oberlin College. Shortly thereafter, Random House confirmed that the changes are in place.)