In her book, "Not That Kind of Girl," Lena Dunham accused a Republican named Barry of sexually assaulting her in college.
After the media connected the incident with an actual person who fits that description, Dunham, 28, revealed in an essay today that she used a pseudonym for her offender.
"As indicated in the beginning of the book, I made the choice to keep certain identities private, changing names and some descriptive details. To be very clear, 'Barry' is a pseudonym, not the name of the man who assaulted me," she wrote in an essay for Buzzfeed. "Any resemblance to a person with this name is an unfortunate and surreal coincidence. I am sorry about all he has experienced."
Aaron Minc, an attorney for the real-life Barry, released a statement on his client's behalf, thanking Dunham for her statement. However, Barry also called the experience of being suspected "frightening" and "baffling," and slammed Dunham for not speaking out on his behalf sooner, adding that he first approached her and her publisher two months ago.
"Why didn’t you clear my name? Why did you wait?" he asked. "Surely, had my concerns not been ignored when I quietly and privately brought them to your representatives in October, your story would have remained focused on its true intentions, which I believe are very noble. Unfortunately, because of the delay, my reputation has sustained irreparable harm."
A spokeswoman for Random House told People magazine that the publisher will change the digital version and future printings of the book to indicate that "Barry" is a pseudonym. Random House will also pay Barry's legal fees. Previously, Minc created a GoFundMe page for his client, explaining that Barry "already spent a substantial portion of his savings on legal fees." The GoFundMe page raised more than $25,000.
"Our offer will allow Mr. Minc and his client to donate all of the crowd-funding raised to not-for-profit organizations assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault," the Random House spokeswoman said.
Through his lawyer, Barry added that he hopes that this incident will remind writers and publishers to be steadfast fact-checkers. He also urged them to be absolutely clear when discussing people accused of committing criminal acts.
"I want to be very clear: I have absolutely no reason to doubt Ms. Dunham's claim that she was sexually assaulted in college. I hope, too, that her story brings courage and strength to other survivors of sexual assaults," he said. "I also hope that my story will serve as an example to those who are falsely accused or incorrectly placed under suspicion of serious sexual misconduct allegations that the truth will eventually come out."