Lena Dunham was unaware of 'Genera+ion' using actual dead cats for a dissection scene.

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

The 34-year-old star - an executive producer on the HBO Max show - has responded to backlash over an episode featuring a high school biology lesson which included actual animal cadavers.

In a statement to PEOPLE, she said: "I am committed in my life and work to the principled, humane and ethical treatment of animals.

"I don't use animal cadavers in any of my work, ever, and I was not on set or aware that they were used in a recently shot scene depicting a biology classroom assignment.

"I fully support the scene being edited out of the show."

The use of real cat cadavers sparked controversy on social media, and the decision was made by the network to pull the scene.

A spokesperson for the broadcaster explained to Variety: "'Genera+ion' depicts the unfiltered experiences of high school students and is drawn from many formative moments in the lives of the show's writers.

"The production recently filmed scenes depicting a biology classroom assignment involving dissection of animal specimens.

"These were ethically sourced in consultation with American Humane via a biological supply company that works with schools."

The spokesperson also admitted that two extras chose to leave as a result of the scene, and "were released with full pay".

They added: "Everyone involved was informed in advance that this would be a sensitive scene involving a real dissection; the assistant directors checked in regularly with all participants on set, and two background actors who expressed discomfort were released with full pay.

"However, after subsequent discussion with the creative team, the scene is being reconceived and will not appear in the series. We deeply regret that this occurred."

The programme - set to air in spring 2021 - features the likes of Martha Plimpton, Justice Smith, Michael Johnston and Chloe East, and focuses on a group of high school students exploring their sexuality in a modern world.

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