In a Jan. 13 article on Babe.net, 23-year-old photographer Grace (an alias) detailed a date with Ansari that ended in an uncomfortable — and by her account, nonconsensual — sexual encounter with the actor. After the article was published, Ansari said in a statement that “it was true that everything did seem okay 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.”
On Monday’s broadcast of her HLN program Crime & Justice, Banfield addressed Ansari’s accuser with an open letter, criticizing her for putting Ansari in the same category as men like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.
“You had a bad date. Your date got overly amorous,” Banfield began. “After protesting his moves, you did not get up and leave right away. You continued to engage in the sexual encounter. By your own clear description, this was not a rape, nor was it a sexual assault. By your description, your sexual encounter was unpleasant.”
Banfield, looking incredulous, continued by asking Grace what she had hoped to accomplish by going public with this story.
“I have to ask you, what exactly was your beef? That you had a bad date with Aziz Ansari?” she asked. “Is that what victimized you to the point of seeking a public conviction and a career-ending sentence against him? Is that what you truly thought he deserved for your night out?”
Banfield concluded by acknowledging the #MeToo movement, which she said has taken a hit because of Grace’s “reckless and hollow” accusations against Ansari.
“You have chiseled away at a movement that I, along with all of my other sisters in the workplace, have 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… I hope the next time you go on a bad date, you stand up sooner, you smooth out your dress and you bloody well leave. Because the only sentence that a guy like that deserves is a bad case of blue balls, not a Hollywood blackball.”
Watch Banfield’s entire segment above, then hit the comments below and tell us: Do you agree with her letter?