HLN Anchor Goes In On Aziz Ansari's Accuser, Calling Allegations 'Appalling,' Sparking Mixed Reviews And Complex Debate On #MeToo

Ashleigh Banfield was applauded by many, yet some found her language problematic.

Over the weekend, a nuanced allegation of sexual misconduct against Aziz Ansari was published and immediately resulted in debate. Today, HLN's Ashleigh Banfield delivered an open letter to Ansari's accuser. Although several people echoed the anchor's sentiments, many feel the address may have missed the mark. 

In the accusation, published by Babe, a 23-year-old Brooklyn-based photographer going by the pseudonym "Grace" detailed a sexual encounter she had with the "Master of None." She described the evening as "the worst night of my life" due to Ansari's inabilities to read her non-verbal cues about her discomfort. 

Ansari responded to the detailed allegations of sexual misconduct, saying he was "surprised and concerned" the photographer felt the interaction was anything but consensual. 

  • On Monday, Banfield read her own 'open letter' to Ansari's accuser

    "Dear Grace — not your real name, I'm sorry you had a bad date," Banfield began. "I've had a few myself. They stink."       

    Banfield then went on to explain the difficulties and hardship of being a victim of sexual assault, but then went on to explain how she did not feel "Grace" was a victim of anything more than an unpleasant date. 

    “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.     

    “But what you have done, in my opinion, is appalling,” Banfield said. “You have chiseled 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.”       

  • After Banfield's letter went viral, many people openly agreed with her statements

    In general, many figures have grappled with the gray area prevalent in the allegations and feel that if no verbal communication was given to Ansari, then how can he be blamed for not reading the victim's mind? 

  • Whereas others felt the anchor delivered a reductive and problematic address

    Thus far, the #MeToo movement has been focusing on victims of unwanted sexual assault or harassment. When it comes to the details of "Grace" and Ansari's encounter, the unclear line of consent promoted a new discussion surrounding sexual power. 

    Many of the people who disagreed with Banfield's commentary on the story feel these conversations are necessary to the movement. 

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.