Music

Lena Dunham Calls Kanye’s ‘Famous’ Video “Disturbing” And Likens It To Rape Culture

Many people disagree with her.

Over the weekend, Kanye West premiered the video for his song ‘Famous’ at a live-streamed event in Los Angeles and made some people very uncomfortable, and others very happy. The controversial video features likenesses of nude celebrities like Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, Caitlyn Jenner and Bill Cosby, arranged in a similar fashion to Vincent Desiderio’s Sleep. 

Some people have praised ‘Famous’ as a confronting look at celebrity and the seedy nature of fame, but the apparent lack of consent of the celebrities involved and inclusion of men like Chris Brown and Bill Cosby, who have been accused and in some cases convicted of various forms of abuse, has left others cold.

Kanye West’s work is often divisive, and one could argue that the role of great art is provoke intense reactions such as these. Pretty easy to see why he decided not to debut this video on Ellen.

One of the voices to weigh in on the ‘Famous’ video for some reason, is Lena Dunham. Today on Facebook, Dunham wrote a post very tentatively titled: “Peeking From Between My Fingers: some disjointed thoughts on the ‘Famous’ video” which discussed the video in relation to rape culture.

Dunham initially expresses admiration for both Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (Kardashian didn’t make the video, so it seems a weird inclusion) but then admits that she found ‘Famous’ to be: “one of the more disturbing ‘artistic’ efforts in recent memory”.

“At the same time Brock Turner is getting off with a light tap for raping an unconscious woman… 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?” she writes. “It gives me such a sickening sense of dis-ease.”

Dunham went on to say that while she suspects that she’s “probably being trolled on a super high level…. I know that there’s a hipper or cooler reaction to have than the one I’m currently having”, the inclusion of her friend Taylor Swift compelled her to say something. “Y’all, I’m so sick of showing up to the party angry,” she said.

Being a divisive figure herself, Dunham’s critique has already attracted her some heat (such as: why are you commenting on this?). Regardless of whether you love or hate the video for ‘Famous’, the inclusion of Cosby is an interesting one — particularly as not that long ago, Kanye tweeted ‘BILL COSBY IS INNOCENT’ much to everyone’s dismay.

In short: it’s okay to feel weird about this video, and it’s also okay not to feel weird about it!