LOS ANGELES, Jan 16 — A US news anchor has hit out at Aziz Ansari’s sexual assault accuser ‘live’ on air, describing the potentially “career-ending” allegations as “reckless and hollow”.
Over the weekend, the Master of None star was accused of sexual assault by an anonymous 23-year-old photographer in an interview with online publication Babe. He has since disputed the claims.
The woman said Ansari made repeated aggressive advances towards her when she accompanied him back to his apartment after a dinner date, despite her “verbal and non-verbal cues” indicating she did not want to have sex with him, Babe reported.
Former CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield was speaking on CNN spin-off channel HLN when she delivered an impassioned open letter to the anonymous woman.
“I’m sorry you had a bad date,” Banfield began.
“You had a bad date. Your date got overly amorous. After protesting his moves, you did not get up and leave. You continued to engage in the sexual encounter.
“So what exactly is your beef?” she asked. “That you had a bad date with Aziz Ansari? Is that what victimised 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?”
After revealing that she has been a victim of sexual misconduct herself, Banfield continued: “If you just had an unpleasant sexual experience, you should have gone home But what you have done, in my opinion, is appalling.”
Banfield then argued that the allegations were bad for the overall #MeToo movement, saying: “You have chiselled away at a movement that I, along with all 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.”
“All the gains that have been achieved on your behalf and mine are now being compromised by allegations that are reckless and hollow,” Banfield concluded.
Watch in the clip in its entirety below:
Banfield’s open letter comes a day after Caitlyn Flanagan’s column for The Atlantic in which she wrote that Ansari had been professionally “assassinated” on the basis of “one woman’s anonymous account.”
“Apparently there is a whole country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab, and who have spent a lot of time picking out pretty outfits for dates they hoped would be nights to remember,” Flanagan wrote.
“They’re angry and temporarily powerful and last night they destroyed a man who didn’t deserve it.”