On Monday, HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield blasted the woman accusing Aziz Ansari of sexual assault.
Specifically, Banfield claimed that the woman’s claim was “reckless” and belittled the work of the #MeToo movement.
“So I have to ask you: What exactly was your beef?” Banfield said in an open letter to the accuser. “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 what you truly think he deserved for your night out?”
“What you have done, in my opinion, is appalling,” Banfield added. “You went to the press with a story of a bad date and you have potentially destroyed this man’s career over it.”
Banfield also said that the account “chiseled away” at the work being done by the #MeToo movement by muddying the waters.
“I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested”
The 23-year-old accuser said that she had been on a date with Ansari when he repeatedly tried to initiate sex. However, she said that she wasn’t interested and gave him both verbal and nonverbal cues to that effect.
“Most of my discomfort was expressed in me pulling away and mumbling,” she said. “I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested. I don’t think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored.”
She said that she had decided to come forward with her story after seeing Ansari wearing a pin in support of the #TimesUp movement.
This particular case has made the waters of the #MeToo movement murky and has opened up a dialogue about internalized rape culture for women who don’t want to clearly vocalize their boundaries for fear of being labeled a “bitch.”