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Girls star Lena Dunham under fire over Bernardo tweet

Lena Dunham, filmmaker, actress and director, speaks during a one-on-one session at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, California October 2, 2012.

Alex Gallardo/Reuters

Did you hear the one about the murderous couple who sexually assaulted and killed teenage girls?

Not laughing?

Weird, because using Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka's crimes to make a joke about Halloween costumes is apparently in good fun if you're Lena Dunham.

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The popular star of HBO's Girls is facing criticism for a tweet she wrote to actors Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak about what costumes they should wear on Oct. 31.

"You guys go as killer Canadian couple Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka. I'll be her sister they murdered. Scariest! Luv U," she wrote. The tweet appears to have been taken down from her Twitter feed.

The Toronto Star, which broke the story, asked whether she had gone too far.

Based on the number of tweets in response to Dunham's tweet, the answer is yes.

"Lena Dunham proves she CAN be more despicable and jokes about dressing up as Bernardo&Homolka victim Tammy Homolka," tweeted ‏@kaimcn.

"This kind of joke is never ok. I'm disgusted by it," tweeted @LadySnarksalot

Tim Danson, who represented the families of victims Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, told the Toronto Star the families would be "extremely hurt and disturbed by this action."

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Some Twitter users wrote that Dunham was making a joke. That may be true, but at what point does the desire for attention and laughs outweigh the inappropriate?

This incident will undoubtedly lead some to defend freedom of speech rights or promote the idea that no subject is off limits in comedy. But, in this case, it doesn't seem as though anyone is trying to enact censorship. They are, however, pointing out that using two of Canada's most notorious killers to make a joke is tasteless.

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