Lena Dunham had to delete her birthday tribute to best friend Jemima Kirke after accidentally sharing her phone number — with the whole of Instagram.

Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham

by Emily Watkins |
Updated on

Have you ever tried to do something nice, only for it to blow up in your face? If you’ve looked at Lena Dunham’s Instagram recently, you will have caught one part or another of a saga-for-the-digital-age unfolding since Friday morning. That was when the social media parable got moving in earnest – Dunham posted a tribute to best friend Jemima Kirke ahead of her birthday on April 26th, pulling together throwback shots and heartfelt declarations of love for a truly touching montage in the name of fierce female friendship. 'Sometimes I get embarrassed to say "best friend" - it's so teenage, and I have a few,' Dunham wrote. 'A best friend is someone who helps you shower when you're sick then rides the elevator with you in your towel to get takeout at the door, zero shame.’ Amen to that.

Excruciatingly, amidst the beautiful photos of the pair and anecdotes from their long-standing relationship, one slide – logging a FaceTime session late at night over 1 hour and 28 minutes (that’s real love) – gave away more than an insight into their closeness; it included Kirke’s phone number from her contact listing in Lena’s phone. Argh.

Lena Dunham posted a tribute to Instagram ahead of Jemima Kirke's birthday
©Instagram/ @lenadunham

Predictably, Lena’s 3 million followers wasted no time in contacting Kirke, resulting in a barrage of calls which Jemima described as ‘relentless’ in another screenshot of their texts shared by Dunham in the post’s aftermath.

While all’s well that ends well – ‘I’m really an idiot. She laughed. I am so lucky’ wrote Dunham; Kirke commented on @lenadunham’s latest post, ‘Had the same number for over 10 years. It was time for a change anyway’ – the whole debacle shows how, in a world more online than off, a fall-out from the digital equivalent of a slip of the tongue can be huge. While the post was deletable (and deleted sharpish), it’s becoming increasingly clear that the internet never forgets.

Lena Dunham posted screen grabs in the aftermath
©Instagram/ @lenadunham

Here, the situation was saved by switching numbers – a bore, but ultimately NBD. We all make mistakes: mis-speak in the real world and you can pretend you were misheard. Slip up on social, and be prepared for the lens of the internet to magnify a tiny oversight into a complete catastrophe. Anyone who has accidentally liked an ex’s photo, hit ‘reply all’ rather than forward on an email or texted the person they’re venting about (so, all of us) will sympathise with Dunham – especially considering the post was in the name of birthday love! Lena, we feel you; sometimes, there’s occasion to be grateful that we don’t each have millions of followers after all.

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