Girls star Lena Dunham has apologised for supporting a writer on the show who has been accused of sexual assault.
Los Angeles police are investigating the accusation made against Murray Miller by actress Aurora Perrineau.
Ms Dunham initially said she was “confident” the accusation had been “misreported” but later admitted acting “naively”, saying it was the wrong time to make such a statement.
Mr Miller has categorically denied Ms Perrineau’s claims, his lawyers say.
On Twitter on Saturday evening, Ms Dunham said she had “naively believed it was important to share my perspective”, but now accepted it was “absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement”.
She added: “Every woman who comes forward deserves to be heard, fully and completely.”
Ms Perrineau told The Wrap that she had filed a report with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Friday, accusing Mr Miller of sexual assault in 2012 when she was 17.
The Hollywood Reporter quoted a department official as confirming that the report had been made and that Los Angeles police would conduct the investigation.
Ms Perrineau said that after a night socialising with Mr Miller and other people, she woke to find him on top of her.
“He was on top of me having sexual intercourse with me. At no time did I consent to any sexual contact with Murray,” she said in a statement.
Mr Miller’s lawyer, Don Walerstein, said in a statement: “Mr Miller categorically and vehemently denies Ms Perrineau’s outrageous claims. After being contacted several weeks ago by lawyers who – on Ms Perrineau’s behalf – sought substantial monetary damages from him, Mr Miller’s legal team gathered overwhelming evidence directly contradicting these false and offensive claims.”
However, Ms Perrineau’s mother, Britney, denied Mr Miller had ever been asked for monetary damages, Vanity Fair reported.
After the accusation against Mr Miller was made public, Lena Dunham and another Girls producer, Jenni Konner, told Variety that they “stood by” Mr Miller.
They said: “Our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year.”
The online backlash was swift.
One comment on Ms Dunham’s Instagram said: “I hope you reconsider calling yourself a feminist, what a joke.”
Others found and quoted a contradictory tweet Ms Dunham posted earlier this year, in which she said women do not lie about rape.
Later on the same day, Ms Dunham published a statement on her Twitter account, apologising and saying: “Every women deserves to be heard, fully and completely, and our relationship to the accused should not be part of the calculation anyone makes when examining her case.”
Some pointed out that it was not the first time she has had to apologise for a statement.
The first statement
Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner
“During the windfall of deeply necessary accusations over the last few months in Hollywood, we have been thrilled to see so many women’s voices heard and dark experiences in this industry justified.
“It’s a hugely important time of change and, like every feminist in Hollywood and beyond, we celebrate.
“But during every time of change there are also incidences of the culture, in its enthusiasm and zeal, taking down the wrong targets. We believe, having worked closely with him for more than half a decade, that this is the case with Murray Miller.
“While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year. It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed.
“We stand by Murray and this is all we’ll be saying about this issue.”
The second statement, tweeted hours later
“As feminists, we live and die by our politics, and believing women is the first choice we make every single day when we wake up.
“Therefore I never thought I would issue a statement publically supporting someone accused of sexual assault, but I naively believed it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation as it has transpired behind the scenes over the last few months.
“I now understand that it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement and I am so sorry. We have been given the gift of powerful voices and by speaking out we were putting out thumb on the scale and it was wrong. We regret this decision with every fiber of our being.
“Every woman who comes forward deserves to be heard, fully and completely, and our relationship to the accused should not be part of the calculation anyone makes when examining her case.
“Every person and every feminist should be required to hear her. Under patriarchy, ‘I believe you’ is essential. Until we are all believed, none of us will be believed.
“We apologize to any women who have been disappointed.”