NEW YORK (JTA) — Lena Dunham’s New Yorker piece titled “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz” was “tasteless” and “offensive,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said.
In a list of 35 statements, the actress and writer of the popular HBO show Girls begins by asking, “Do the following statements refer to (a) my dog or (b) my Jewish boyfriend?”
The ADL objected to several of Dunham’s statements in the piece published last week, including ones that imply that her boyfriend “doesn’t tip,” “never brings his wallet anywhere” and “comes from a culture in which mothers focus every ounce of their attention on their offspring and don’t acknowledge their own need for independence as women.”
“Some will certainly find Lena Dunham’s stereotypes about cheap Jews offensive,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement issued Friday. “Others will take issue with the very idea of comparing a dog and a Jewish boyfriend.
“The piece is particularly troubling because it evokes memories of the ‘No Jews or Dogs Allowed’ signs from our own early history in this country, and also because, in a much more sinister way, many in the Muslim world today hatefully refer to Jews as ‘dogs.’”
Since 2012, Dunham’s boyfriend in real life has been Jack Antonoff, the guitarist for the band Fun, who attended the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in northern New Jersey. Dunham, 28, has a Jewish mother and Protestant father.
The ADL statement acknowledged that the piece was intended to be humorous.
“We doubt that Ms. Dunham had any intention of evoking such comparisons,” the ADL said. “While we understand that humor is its own special brand of expression and always try to give leeway to comedians, we wish that she had chosen another, less insensitive way to publicly reflect on her boyfriend’s virtues and vices.”