Lena Dunham Book Tour Controversy: ‘Girls’ Star Won’t Pay Opening Performers For ‘Literary Circus,’ Responds On Twitter To Backlash


Lena Dunham caused some ire when news broke that she is not planning to pay performers who will be her opening acts for the 11-city tour to promote her new book, Not That Kind Of Girl .

Dunham is forgoing the traditional reading/meet-the-author-style event, in favor of what the New York Times dubbed a “literary circus,” complete with live music, poetry readings and appearances by other prominent comedians and authors.

So why is the star, a multi-millionaire who is set to cash in big on this book, not sharing the wealth with the artists who are helping her realize her vision.

The Times reports that Dunham posted an open call for video auditions on her website last month, and received responses from nearly 600 hopefuls, who included singers, gymnasts, performance artists, stand-up comics, a ukulele player and a sand artist.

Seven were selected to open for the star’s tour, which will feature a roster of celebrity figures including novelist Zadie Smith and Portlandia lead Carrie Brownstein.

Dunham says of the production, “I wanted it to have an arts festival feel, which is why we now have all these remarkable, special wierdos who I found on the Internet.” The problem, as many see it, is that Dunham really has no excuse not to compensate the struggling artists she cast in the show.

Forbes estimates that the writer and actress makes $6 million a year on her TV show, Girls .

In addition, Gawker reports that she received a $3.7 million advance on the book, and has already sold 8,000 tickets for the show earning $304,000 in revenue.

Dunham’s lack of generosity is especially puzzling because, as the daughter of two prominent artists, she has spoken before about her concern that New York City is becoming too expensive for the creative community it once nurtured.

Refinery29 notes she once said, “We can’t have our generation’s Patti Smith moving to Tampa.

That’s going to seriously f*ck our sh*t up.” The star has stayed pretty quiet about this controversy so far, only making a somewhat opaque comment on Twitter.

On Sunday night Dunham tweeted, “I’m not a business woman.

I’m a business, woman.

So let me do my business, k?” 

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