Despite recent reports of eschewing the limelight, Lena Dunham turned up at Hearst Tower on Thursday for a Q&A but on one condition: The session be closed to the press although the event could be publicized internally via social media.
Press invites had gone out before Dunham made an announcement on her Facebook page on Monday that noted she was avoiding the glare of the media due to the effects of endometriosis. Hearst, which inked a deal with Dunham to distribute and monetize her newsletter “Lenny,” was made to rescind the media invites at the behest of the actress’ publicist on Tuesday.
“As you may have read, Lena Dunham will not be doing press for the new season of ‘Girls,’ as she has endometriosis and is going through a rough patch with the illness,” a Hearst spokeswoman said, parroting Dunham’s Facebook post.
“Due to her discomfort, we are unfortunately no longer able to accommodate press at our MasterClass [Q&A] event on Thursday and have to rescind our invitation for you to attend.”
Still, it came as a surprise when Hearst’s various magazine brands were permitted to publicize the event via social media. Many of the titles, including Cosmopolitan and Elle, in addition to Hearst employees took to Twitter, reporting on Dunham’s interview with “Girls” showrunner and “Lenny” cofounder Jenni Konner.
Asked for clarification, a Hearst representative said Dunham’s publicist was “adamant” that external press be barred from attending the event.
While Dunham “offered internal brands social freedom,” none of the sites were allowed to run stories on the Q&A, which was moderated by Kate Lewis, vice president of content operations and editorial director of Hearst digital.
Dunham’s appearance at Hearst comes shortly after another magazine-centric event a week earlier. The writer and actress appeared on a panel at the American Magazine Media conference with Julianne Moore and Michelle Obama on Feb. 2 to talk about social causes, girls’ education and media, among other topics.