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The great Lena Dunham–Planned Parenthood font dispute

It all started with a T-shirt and a bunch of celebrity selfies.


Nimrod Kamer

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 12, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 5:41 am CDT

It all started when Lena Dunham released a T-shirt in collaboration with Planned Parenthood. She emblazoned it with “LENA <3 PLANNED PARENTHOOD” and sent it to Ellen Page, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Gabrielle Union, and other celebrity friends. The Girls star dutifully Instagrammed all of their selfies.

And then I tweeted something that caused a lot of trouble.

Need a jolt of fierce, flawless reproductive rights warriors in your life? Stop everything & go look at @lenadunham:

— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) October 30, 2014



Final one…

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on


While in London for her book tour, Dunham went on a social media binge trip to spread her friends’ photos, automatically tweeting out everything she Instagrammed (auto-share is a bit annoying).

I couldn’t help but notice that the word “LENA” is much larger than “PLANNED PARENTHOOD” on the shirt. The design positions Lena as the star of the campaign, rather than Planned Parenthood.

I raised my concerns with Lena directly.

The word LENA is bigger, @PPact @lenadunham

— Nimrod Kamer (@nnimrodd) October 30, 2014

Dunham responded.

@nnimrodd @PPact my mother’s friend Tom had serious concerns about that. Take it up with designer @teddyblanks who has a strong perspective

— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 30, 2014

The Brooklyn designer, Teddy Blanks from CHIPS-NY, then stepped in:

@nnimrodd @PPact @lenadunham the FONT is bigger on her name, but her name takes up less overall space. But yeah, my fault.

— Teddy Blanks (@teddyblanks) October 30, 2014

Lena apologized, after realizing she’d shifted the blame entirely onto Blanks:

@teddyblanks @nnimrodd @PPact I’m sorry I threw you under the bus Teddy. You’re one of my best friends.

— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 30, 2014

Afterward, I DM’d Blanks about the fiasco.

“Who funded the whole Lena PP T-shirt project?” I asked.

“I actually don’t know! I can only speak to design,” Blanks responded.

I asked him if he expected any criticism over the design, and Blanks said it was a concern of his: “Lena brought it up, but both the PP people and I thought it looked better this way. When the fonts were all the same size, her name looked puny, it made for a worse shirt. It was purely an aesthetic decision.”

It’s only a font. I regret that it turned into such a big deal that Dunham’s designer had to take the blame—even if temporarily. But with the social media storm currently erupting around Dunham over some questionable quotes in her new book, some are pushing for Planned Parenthood to drop her altogether, using the hashtag #DropDunham.

Will #Shirtgate add further fuel to the flames?

Photos via Lena Dunham/Instagram

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*First Published: Nov 12, 2014, 11:00 am CST