Actress Lena Dunham has apologized for causing offense to readers of her new memoir after her recollection of a controversial encounter with her younger sister as a kid prompted some conservative critics to accuse her of child molestation.
The Girls creator and star hit the headlines last week (ends02Nov14) after a TruthRevolt.org writer highlighted a passage from her book, Not That Kind of Girl, and claimed her curiosity about her baby sister Grace's genitals were inappropriate.
In the excerpt, Dunham writes, "Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn't resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked.
"My mother came running. 'Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!' My mother didn't bother asking why I had opened Grace's vagina... and looked for herself. It quickly became apparent that Grace had stuffed six or seven pebbles in there. My mother removed them patiently while Grace cackled, thrilled that her prank had been a success."
Dunham was subsequently forced to defend herself against accusations her behavior constituted molestation, insisting the claims were "upsetting and disgusting" in a series of angry posts on Twitter.com.
She even threatened legal action against the website editor unless he agreed to take down the post, but he refused, and now Dunham has issued a new statement to Time.com to make it clear she did nothing wrong.
She also underlined her stance on child abuse and said sorry to anyone who felt offended by her off-beat sense of humor.
In a new statement, she writes, "I am dismayed over the recent interpretation of events described in my book Not That Kind of Girl. First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances.
"Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention...
"As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval."