HLN host says comedian deserves a "bad case of blue balls, not a Hollywood blackball," and Twitter predictably goes nuts.
HLN host Ashleigh Banfield is being met with applause and cries of victim-blaming, after she ripped Aziz Ansari's sexual misconduct accuser on her nightly talk show.
On Monday night, Banfield delivered a scathing message to the woman known as "Grace," who made anonymous claims against the actor in an article on Babe.net. By her account, the 23-year-old photographer repeatedly turned down Ansari's advances for sexual intercourse while hooking up in his apartment. She characterized the evening as "a violating night and a painful one," though he later denied any wrongdoing.
"I'm sorry that you had a bad date. I have had a few myself. They stink," the "Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield" host said. "But let's take a moment to reflect on what you claim was the 'worst night of your life.' Your date got overly amorous. 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. It did not send you to the police, it did not affect your workplace, or your ability to get a job. So I have to ask you, what exactly was your beef?" she continued. "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? Is that truly what you thought he deserved for your night out?"
"What you have done, in my opinion, is appalling," Banfield said. "You went to the press with a story of a bad date and you have potentially destroyed this man’s career over it, right after he received an award for which he was worthy. And now here is where I am going to claim victim. You have chiseled away at a movement that I, along with all of my sisters in the workplace, have been dreaming of for decades, 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."
After describing the importance of the #MeToo movement, something she says the accusers words have "chiseled away" at with her "public accusation." Banfield also called the account "reckless and hollow."
"The only sentence that a guy like that deserves is a bad case of blue balls, not a Hollywood blackball," she said in conclusion.
Twitter was pretty divided in its reaction to her words, with stars like Arsenio Hall and Thora Birch praising Banfield for her message as others ripped her apart for "victim blaming." See a sampling from both sides below.
Comments In Support of Banfield
It was well-deserved. So her date didn't turn out the way she hoped - boo fucking hoo. It's happened to all of us at some point. Going to the media, anonymously, to shame him, says more about her than it ever could about him.— Rhonda Wolfson (@rhonda_wolfson) January 16, 2018
Thank you @TVAshleigh & @HLNTV for this. The media sources that supported this slander also need to be held responsible. As a victim of true sexual assault I found the @babedotnet insulting. All this site does is regularly bring women down. #MeToohttps://t.co/IvFOgdMgeC— Larissa Long (Reese) (@reesycup) January 16, 2018
Ashleigh is absolutely right. To grace and everyone else whining about her encounter with azizz - grow the f up. Her life wasn't in danger, her job wasn't in jeopardy - she could have left any time she wanted. He was not forcing her to stay. Puhleeze!— Donna Houston (@houston_donn) January 16, 2018
Banfield is the one with balls and to be applauded. She voiced a full throated opinion that may likely be unpopular. All for #metoo but at the same time, gotta stand up against a mob culture rising that believes non-credible allegations of sexual harassment, assault or rape.— bruce skop (@bruceskop) January 16, 2018
@TVAshleigh You go girl. You said what needed to be said. Just throwing out charges with no proof or info or police is bullshit. Harrassment is wrong but just throwing out charges is wrong too.— Queen J (@queenie09) January 16, 2018
Comments Against Banfield
Y’all have no idea what else is about to come out about him. Trust, her “bad date” is the tip of the iceberg. To put her down for sharing her story is appalling. But then also to demean an important conversation about CONSENT and our culture of success? What are you even saying? pic.twitter.com/6dRbzGWTPq— Benjamin O'Keefe (@benjaminokeefe) January 16, 2018
This isn’t right. Consent and sexually aggressive behavior should not be excluded from the #metoo conversation. It’s not a binary ‘assault or no assault’ movement.— Stephanie Swann (@SwannDives) January 16, 2018
A bad date?! No! Instead of victim shaming we should be talking about why his behavior was wrong, how women are conditioned to appease men even when feeling violated, and what a widespread problem this sort of pressure is on dates. @TVAshleigh @CNN Do better. https://t.co/goQs78u7Fs— laterfader (@LaterFader84) January 16, 2018
Sorry you were relegated to a network no one watches @TVAshleigh but you could not be more tone deaf about this. Unbelievable.— Like, really smart (@LizLudgate) January 16, 2018
@TVAshleigh When we encouraged women to speak out, one should expect some will not meet an arbitrary level of concern to outsiders. But to accuse this immature girl of having done something "appalling," is just abusive. Have you no goddamn pity, woman? Were you never that young?— Tish Aguilar (@MommaTish) January 16, 2018
I have truly admired Ashleigh Banfield for giving a platform to survivors of sexual assault (like the Stanford survivor), but today she engaged with an antiquated idea of consent that does not acknowledge coercion or the varied reactions humans have to a traumatic event. [Thread]— Katherine M. Jiménez (@MsKatherineMJ) January 16, 2018
Simply put: she engaged in victim blaming and that is not okay. Telling/ asking a survivor why they didn’t “get up and walk away” has been used too often to excuse & forgive perpetrators. I’m sorry, but have you ever experienced a traumatic event?!— Katherine M. Jiménez (@MsKatherineMJ) January 16, 2018
To all those rape-apologists like @bariweiss @TVAshleigh who say some men “can’t recognize non-verbal cues”? Do you know another word for “non-verbal cues”?— Trumpistan Must Fall❄️❄️ (@Dope45Show) January 16, 2018
If she says no OR her actions indicate no, it’s fucking NO. How do you defend this garbage from @azizansari
@TVAshleigh congrats on being awful— Amoreena (@lilblondeduck) January 16, 2018