HBO drama Girls is down a man: Christopher Abbott, who played the longtime boyfriend of Marnie. The show has been described by many as Sex and the City for millennials. However, as Abbott’s departure demonstrates, most people have big problems with Lena Dunham, Girls’ precocious creator.
A representative of the actor told the media: “[Chris] is grateful for the experience of collaborating with Lena, Judd [Apatow], and the entire Girls cast and crew, but right now he’s working on numerous other projects and has decided not to return to the show.”
Jezebel, one of the first outlets to report the story, was quick to note that Christopher Abbott’s decision may have been shaped by conflict with Dunham, as a source said that he and Dunham had very different expectations for his character’s storyline.
The article went on to discuss the changes made to the writers’ room of Girls, as it's now more than 50% male. Feminist blogs like Jezebel in particular are outraged by headlines that laud Abbott as “one of the only hot men on Girls” and hold Lena Dunham accountable for his absence. This of course, begs the question: why does everyone hate Lena Dunham?
Controversy has followed Girls, and Dunham, ever since the show's premiere last year. The racism prevalent in Girls is well-documented and scrutinized, and Dunham’s attempt to address the controversy that the show caused when it first aired without any non-white characters was equally critiqued. Since then, Dunham has continued to face significant media criticism, and bloggers continue to lambast everything from her managing of the show to her privileged upbringing.
Part of this might stem from her great and immediate success: Girls, which she stars in and runs, began when she was 25, and Dunham recently signed a book deal for $3.5 million. But the internet animosity towards Dunham cannot simply be jealousy, or righteous indignation at her white-washed cast.
Perhaps the scorn she faces comes from her status as a young woman with so much success and so much notoriety: it’s hard to think of Judd Apatow, who produces the show, facing so much scorn for his directorial decisions. Regardless of the reason, Dunham will continue to face challenges to the show, and Abbott’s departure will be a loss.