Kanye West released the highly anticipated music video for his new track “Famous” late last week. And, as is the case with much of Kanye’s recent work, no one can seem to decide whether it’s elevated art or attention-grabbing sleaze.
The grainy, voyeuristic (definitely NSFW) video depicts Kanye and his wife, Kim Kardashian, in a bed. Slowly, the camera pans over naked wax figurines in the likenesses of various celebrities, including Taylor Swift, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Chris Brown, and Rihanna.
West called the video a “comment on fame” and asked the featured celebrities to “sue me already” on Twitter.
But for actress Lena Dunham, the video wasn’t a comment on anything — it was just disturbing.
“Like many pop culture addicted Americans, I wait with bated breath for what Kanye West will do next,” she wrote in a Facebook post that’s been shared hundreds of times. “But…the Famous video is one of the more disturbing ‘artistic’ efforts in recent memory.”
Dunham likened the video to cases of sexual assault where perpetrators or bystanders film the attacks, then broadcast them across social media. She also invoked Brock Turner, the ex-Stanford swimmer who was sentenced to just six months in prison after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
“At the same time Brock Turner is getting off with a light tap for raping an unconscious woman and photographing her breasts for a group chat… As assaults are Periscoped across the web and girls commit suicide after being exposed in ways they never imagined… Now I have to see the prone, unconscious, waxy bodies of famous women, twisted like they have been drugged and chucked aside at a rager?” she wrote. “It gives me such a sickening sense of dis-ease.”
Dunham says she’s not against nudity or provocative art — but she’s disheartened that West’s video seems inspired by rape culture.
“I know that there’s a hipper or cooler reaction to have than the one I’m currently having,” Dunham continued. “I don’t have a hip cool reaction, because seeing a woman I love like Taylor Swift…a woman I admire like Rihanna…reduced to a pair of waxy breasts…it makes me feel sad and unsafe and worried.”
So far, few celebrities have responded to the video. On Instagram, Chris Brown wrote “Why I gotta have the plumbers butt/ crack showing WAX figure?” Former President Bush’s rep told TMZ that “In case there was any doubt…that is not President Bush.”
Here’s Dunham’s entire post:
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