Lena Dunham—or, more accurately, the newest in a long line of Gawker articles criticizing Lena Dunham—has ignited a controversy positing her as 2014’s answer to Amanda Palmer. Palmer, for those for whom 2012 is but a vague Pitch Perfect-induced haze, attempted to pay the musicians backing her on tour with “beer and hugs,” resulting in an online furor centered around the fact that Palmer had just raised a million dollars on Kickstarter. A week later, Palmer relented.
Lena Dunham has not raised a million dollars on Kickstarter, but she did get a reported $3.7 million advance for her book Not That Kind Of Girl. She’s also charging $38 a ticket to attend her book tour, and is the gainfully employed creator of a popular HBO show. That’s enough for Gawker to condemn her, with an article quoting a New York Times piece that mentions how the “sand artist, ukulele player, a cappella singers, gymnasts, performance artists and stand-up comics” who responded to Dunham’s call for opening acts on her book tour are “performing free of charge.”
The mere mention of that most condescending of currencies—“exposure”—has upset enough people that Dunham has reversed her stance. She now says she will be paying her opening acts after all. As she posted on Twitter this afternoon.