Hillary Clinton and Lena Dunham, Her Main Millennial, Hit the Weinstein Wall

Ms. Dunham’s prominence in the Clinton campaign made her comments particularly resonant. Mrs. Clinton leaned on Ms. Dunham’s support so heavily that the actress and writer was awarded a prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (“Hi, I’m Lena Dunham and according to Donald Trump, my body is probably, like, a 2.”)

Ms. Dunham’s statement to The Times that she had warned the Clinton campaign about Mr. Weinstein came not long after she had stirred controversy by publicly defending a “Girls” writer, Murray Miller, who had been accused of sexual assault. A torrent of criticism followed Ms. Dunham’s words of support for Mr. Miller, whose lawyers “categorically and vehemently” denied the allegation. Three days after her defense of her colleague, Ms. Dunham posted an apology on Twitter. “Under patriarchy, ‘I believe you’ is essential,” it read, in part.

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Hillary Clinton and Harvey Weinstein at the 2012 Time 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.

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Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TIME

Her defense of the accused writer was not the first time Ms. Dunham had gone against the prevailing views of those in her circle. After a 2015 dinner party at the Park Avenue apartment of Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, several guests said that Ms. Dunham had expressed discomfort with how the Clintons and their allies had discredited the women who said they had had sexual encounters with or had been sexually assaulted by former President Bill Clinton — an issue that many Democrats have reassessed in recent weeks.

The Times reported on Ms. Dunham’s dinner party remarks last year. At the time, her spokeswoman, Cindi Berger, said the description of her comments was a “total mischaracterization.”

By then, the alliance between the candidate and the star had become critical, with Ms. Dunham touring the country to help boost enthusiasm in a Democratic primary season that saw many young women gravitate to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Mrs. Clinton had started her campaign by promising that her victory would lead to “an America where a father can tell his daughter: ‘Yes, you can be anything you want to be. Even President of the United States.’” But as Mr. Sanders’s anti-Wall Street message took hold, the Clinton campaign realized millennial women were a stubborn demographic,…

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