HLN anchor Ashley Banfield has slammed the 23-year-old woman who accused Master of None star Aziz Ansari of sexual misconduct.
As previously reported, in a lengthy story published Sunday, February 14, on Babe.net, a Brooklyn photographer who used the pseudonym “Grace” described an evening with Ansari in which he allegedly pressured her to have sex, despite her expressing expressing discomfort with the situation through “verbal and non-verbal” cues. Grace said she eventually engaged in oral sex but later regretted it.
On Monday, Banfield read a scathing open letter to Grace, in which she accused her of damaging the #MeToo movement.
“Let’s take a moment to reflect on what you claim was the ‘worst night of your life,’” Banfield began. “Your date got overly amorous. After protesting his moves, you did not get up and leave. You continued to engage in the sexual encounter. By your own clear description, this wasn’t a rape, nor was it a sexual assault,” Banfield said. “So what exactly is your beef? That you had a bad date with Aziz Ansari? Is that what victimized you to the point of seeking a public conviction? And a career-ending sentence against him?”
The 50-year-old journalist went on to call Grace’s decision to go to the press “appalling.”
“You have chiseled way at a movement that I, along with all my sisters in the workplace, having been dreaming of for decades,” she said. “A movement that has finally changed an oversexed professional environment that I, too, have struggled through at times over the last 30 years in broadcasting.”
Ansari, 34, responded to Grace’s claims in a statement to Us Weekly on Sunday.
“In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on a date,” he said. “We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual.”
“The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed OK,’ upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable,” the Parks and Recreation alum continued. “It was true that everything did seem OK to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.”
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