Kanye West’s video for his song “Famous” seems engineered to make people feel a combination of anger and discomfort. The video, which he premiered over the weekend, features images of naked celebrities in bed together. The rapper and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, are represented, as are Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Donald Trump, and Bill Cosby.
Now the video has found its most high-profile detractor. Lena Dunham, who’s friends with Swift, has written a well-considered and strongly-worded condemnation of the video, which she calls “one of the more disturbing ‘artistic’ efforts in recent memory.” Dunham posted her reaction on Facebook, outlining how she believes West’s video implicitly condones toxic rape culture.
Let’s break it down: at the same time Brock Turner is getting off with a light tap for raping an unconscious woman and photographing her breasts for a group chat … As assaults are Periscoped across the web and girls commit suicide after being exposed in ways they never imagined … While Bill Cosby’s crimes are still being uncovered and understood as traumas for the women he assaulted but also massive bruises to our national consciousness… Now I have to see the prone, unconscious, waxy bodies of famous women, twisted like they’ve been drugged and chucked aside at a rager? It gives me such a sickening sense of dis-ease.
West—who did once appear to tweet about Bill Cosby’s innocence—called the video a “comment on fame” in a Vanity Fair interview. As Dunham draws to her conclusion, she addresses West: “Make a statement on fame and privacy and the Illuminati or whatever is on your mind! But I can’t watch it, don’t want to watch it, if it feels informed and inspired by the aspects of our culture that make women feel unsafe even in their own beds, in their own bodies.”