Tags: Lena Dunham | rape allegation

WaPo Blogger: Implied Rapist 'Barry' Could Sue Lena Dunham

Image: WaPo Blogger: Implied Rapist 'Barry' Could Sue Lena Dunham
Actress, author, screenwriter, producer Lena Dunham. (Matt Crossick/PA Photos/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 05 Dec 2014 11:40 AM

Lena Dunham's "Barry," whom she implies raped her in her book "Not That Kind of Girl" could theoretically file an anti-defamation lawsuit against the actress if he chose to do so, says blogger Eugene Volokh in The Washington Post.

In response to a question from a reader, Volokh, who is a professor at the UCLA School of Law, says in his blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, that it would be "a classic defamation case."

Dunham writes in her book, as cited by Volokh, about "a sexual encounter with a mustachioed campus Republican as the upsetting but educational choice of a girl who was new to sex when, in fact, it didn't feel like a choice at all."

She describes him as the "resident conservative" at Oberlin College with the name Barry.

According to Breitbart.com's John Nolte, Breitbart News was able to immediately identify "a prominent Republican named Barry who attended Oberlin at the time in question," but also says that many of the facts she cites in her book are allegedly false, including the fact that he had a mustache.

Volokh said that he also was able to easily identify a Barry at Oberlin that attended the college at the same time as Dunham.

National Review's Kevin Williamson interviewed a Barry, who was a president of the College Republicans "whose time at the school coincided with Dunham's."

The Barry that Williamson spoke to said that he "never met Dunham and had no relationship with her," and doesn't think that "Dunham intended to refer to him," but called the reference the " 'most unfortunate coincidence of my life.' "

Volokh said that "Barry" could file an anti-defamation lawsuit against Dunham based on the fact that "Dunham said things about him that injured his reputation with some people" and "because some people reasonably identified him as the Barry she mentions."

In addition, "those statements were false, in that no conservative Oberlin student named Barry actually did to her what she says was done to her, even if someone else with another name or other identifying characteristics did this."

Also, "Dunham knew that the statements were false, in that she knew that no conservative Oberlin Barry did this to her."

Volokh cites the Restatement (Second) of Torts, which says that: "A defamatory communication is made concerning the person to who its recipient correctly, or mistakenly but reasonably understands that it was intended to refer."

And, the UCLA law professor says it doesn't matter that Barry's last name was omitted, if someone could easily and reasonably identify the Barry she's talking about.

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Lena Dunham's "Barry," whom she implies raped her in her book "Not That Kind of Girl" could theoretically file an anti-defamation lawsuit against the actress if he chose to do so, says blogger Eugene Volokh in The Washington Post.
Lena Dunham, rape allegation
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2014-40-05
Friday, 05 Dec 2014 11:40 AM
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