Lena Dunham is writing a self-described funny book of advice and anecdotes on everything from sex to eating to traveling to work. But she sure is taking seriously one website’s attempt to make any of it public. Gawker at the start of the weekend scored and posted the HBO Girls sitcom creator’s 66-page book proposal which she sold in October for $3.5M to Random House. I went to read it on the site only to see it had disappeared off it. Gawker told me Charles Harder of Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin demanded that Gawker take down Dunham’s proposal for Not That Kind Of Girl. Gawker complied. (“On the recommendation of Gawker’s legal department, the site’s leadership elected to take down the proposal.”) OK, I can understand that. But now Dunham’s attorney is demanding that Gawker take down a mere 12 one-sentence quotes lifted from the 66-page proposal. This is hardball: Harder represented himself to Gawker’s attorney as “litigation counsel for author and actress Lena Dunham [and] Lena Dunham has retained an attorney to demand that Gawker remove 12 quotes from her book propsal from our site,” an insider tells me. (I hear Random House isn’t bitching to Gawker, only Dunham.)
Look, the publishing industry leaks like a sieve and many book proposals leak to the media. (Heck, I posted Jon Peters’ entire book proposal, and lost him a bunch of friends, and no one threatened to sue me…) Of course, interest is high in this proposal that sold for $3.5M by a Hollywood wunderkind. Granted Dunham’s proposal fetched so much money because publishers rightly or wrongly see this flavor of the moment as an influential creative voice for young women. But Dunham now is taking herself way too seriously over 12 unwitty sentences which Gawker describes (and I agree) are “indicative of a nauseating and cloying posture of precociousness that permeates the entire proposal”. Meanwhile, Gawker tells me, “We’re not removing the quotes.” FYI, the book doesn’t have a pub date and apparently isn’t even written yet.