Saturday, March 24th | 8 Nisan 5778


Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

March 27, 2015 5:24 pm

Human Rights Group Blasts Lena Dunham’s ‘Jewish Boyfriend or Dog’ Quiz

avatar by Shiryn Solny

Email a copy of "Human Rights Group Blasts Lena Dunham’s ‘Jewish Boyfriend or Dog’ Quiz" to a friend

Lena Dunham compared dogs to a Jewish boyfriend in a piece for The New Yorker. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Friday criticized a “troubling” essay written by actress Lena Dunham, in which she compares her Jewish boyfriend to her dog. The ADL said the article evokes offensive stereotypes about Jews.

“Some will certainly find offensive Lena Dunham’s stereotypes about cheap Jews offensive. Others will take issue with the very idea of comparing a dog and a Jewish boyfriend,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “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.'”

The ADL added that it doubts Dunham intended to evoke the offensive comparisons.

Dunham’s controversial piece, titled “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” was published in the March 30th issue of The New Yorker. The creator of the HBO series Girls asked her readers to guess whether a number of statements applied to her dog or her Jewish boyfriend.

Among the statements in the article Dunham writes, “he expects to be waited on hand and foot by the women in his life, and anything less than that makes him whiny and distant” and “he is openly hostile toward the Hasidic community, focusing most of his rage on their bulky (but chic) fur hats.”

In another paragraph she focuses on upbringing, saying, “…he 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. They are sucked dry by their children, who ultimately leave them as soon as they find suitable mates.”

Foxman said humor is a “matter of taste” and while the ADL understands “that humor is its own special brand of expression” and always tries “to give leeway to comedians,” the group said it wishes Dunham had chosen a “less insensitive way to publicly reflect on her boyfriend’s virtues and vices.”

Though Dunham, who is Jewish, has yet to comment on the piece, other critics have reacted sharply to the article on Twitter, accusing her of antisemitism and slamming her for promoting negative Jewish stereotypes.

“Ignorant, anti-Semitic piece in @NewYorker by @lenadunham,” one critic wrote. “Dating a Jewish man does not mean you can compare them to dogs. Obviously.” Another said, “Big fan Lena but was sad to see you use such crappy stereotypes of Jewish ppl for this article.”

“Disgusted by your ‘quiz’ comparing dogs and your Jewish boyfriend. Not funny. Not ironic. Anti-Semitic!” said another Twitter user, while another sarcastically wrote, “Oh good @lenadunham made jokes about Jews and money in the New Yorker, sure is a great time in history to evoke those stereotypes.”

Others rebuked The New Yorker for publishing the article. One Twitter user told the publication “shame on your for publishing it,” adding, “you must realize the anti-Semitic tone of this highly offensive piece.” Foxman said he was “surprised” that The New Yorker chose to print the story.

Subsequent articles responding to Dunham’s piece include “Lena Dunham Equated Jews to Dogs & That’s Not OK” published by Kveller, a popular Jewish parenting blog.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Funny? Satire? If it’s meant as such than it failed miserably and shouldn’t have been published. The ADL had a flaccid response and needs some Viagra. This is another step in the oeuvre of Jew bashing. How about a funny article titled Muslim or Dog, or Black or Dog?



  • Jack

    It might not be my place to say BUT!, she is a Jew and has the right to self deprecation (in any free society).
    Of course it may hurt those who are brittle but the history in Jewish humor has always been about the submissive self over the will of the onerous. (She is actually quite funny occasionally.)
    Besides, without the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America the whole world would be like a big Nazi death camp anyway.
    In short, SUCK IT UP!

  • John Quinn

    If the shoe fits wear it, if it dosen`t don`t put it on man, chill out.

  • Leo Toystory

    Her description “”… 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. They are sucked dry by their children…” represents approximately ZERO of the Jewish mother/son
    relationships I have witnessed over the last sixty years.
    It might represent the mother/son relationship of her idiot boyfriend, and he must be an idiot for dating a degenerate moron like her. At least she can never be buried in a Jewish cemetery as she’s mangled her body with disgusting PAGAN tattoos. The Jewish community might be well-advised to neither suffer fools nor traitors.

  • Madness! It is about The New Yorker who does target people into political trap. Watch out!

  • Delilah007

    It was bound to happen. Lena Dunham the champion of fat ugly Jewish woman how’s that for stereotypes gets put into the elite of Hollywood, starts to believe rightfully so with plastic surgery diet etc. etc. that she might be more attractive & certainly more popular!! So why not trash her roots? after all she’s leaving them behind

  • Lena Dunham’s article that compares her Jewish boyfriend to her dog is nothing less than an anti-Semitic write-up.

    She should know better than to write such discriminatory garbage, and — even worse — The New Yorker magazine never should have allowed it to be published.

    Apparently, many people today find it humorous and acceptable to stigmatize Jews.

    To add insult to injury, Dunham herself is Jewish. There is a professional term in sociology that describes such nasty behavior toward a person’s own ethnicity or religion. It’s called “self-hatred!”

  • Andrew

    If she actually does have a Jewish boyfriend then it is just a bad joke and people need to chill. If she doesn’t then she is an idiot.

  • Joseph Barre

    Dunham needs to get back to creative writing if she seeks further recognition. I’m not watching a show that thinks it’s acceptable to humiliate Jews.

  • Fred Pierce

    Please, let’s maintain a sense of humor. Lena Dunham is fine and is clearly not anti-Semitic.

  • Bee

    Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman, Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julian Morris, Adam Brody, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Gabriel Macht, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Lisa Kudrow, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Debra Messing, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Margarita Levieva, Elizabeth Berkley, Halston Sage, Seth Gabel, Corey Stoll, Mia Kirshner, Alden Ehrenreich, Eric Balfour, Jason Isaacs, Jon Bernthal, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy.

    Andrew Garfield is Jewish, too (though I don’t know if both of his parents are).

    Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, Dave Franco, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Joaquin Phoenix, River Phoenix, Emmy Rossum, Rashida Jones, Jennifer Connelly, Sofia Black D’Elia, Nora Arnezeder, Goldie Hawn, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amanda Peet, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan, Joel Kinnaman, Ben Barnes, Patricia Arquette, Kyra Sedgwick, Dave Annable, Ryan Potter.

    Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Ezra Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, Nicola Peltz, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Winona Ryder, Michael Douglas, Ben Foster, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nikki Reed, Zac Efron, Jonathan Keltz, Paul Newman.

    Oh, and Ansel Elgort’s father is Jewish, though I don’t know how Ansel was raised.

    Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

  • Lena Dunham can’t take these words back. For all with eyes to see, they prove that she’s anti-Semitic to the core. The boyfriend, I hope, is now gone. And, the New Yorker Magazine, which stood for class and intellectualism has stooped to an all-time low. It would make a lot of sense for their sales to plummet, in my opinion, along with her popularity.