HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield has fired back at a woman who is accusing Golden Globe-winning actor Aziz Ansari of sexual misconduct.
“So I have to ask you, what exactly was your beef?” Banfield asked on her show Monday. “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?”
The woman says she met Ansari at an Emmy’s party last September after the comedian won an award for outstanding writing. They exchanged numbers and later met for dinner at a Manhattan restaurant.
But back at Ansari’s Tribeca apartment, the woman claims the actor began kissing her, undressing her and pressuring her for sex. When she says she told him that she wasn’t comfortable, he backed off but then she says he tried again, so she left in tears.
Her story was published on the feminist website, Babe, with the headline: “I Went On A Date With Aziz Ansari. It Turned Into The Worst Night Of My Life.”
The accuser, who only goes by the name Grace in the Babe piece, is a 23-year-old photographer. She was 22 when the incident happened.
She says she decided to speak out after seeing him win a Golden Globe for Best Actor in his Netflix series, Master of None, while wearing a “Times Up” pin in support of the anti-sexual harassment movement.
Now there’s backlash over her claims.
“What you have done, in my opinion, is appalling,” Banfield told Grace on her show Monday. “You went to the press with a story of a bad date and you have potentially destroyed this man’s career over it.”
A headline in The New York Times read: “Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being A Mind Reader.”
Actress Kristen Bell tweeted a pro-Ansari article in The Atlantic that called Grace’s story “3,000 words of revenge porn.”
In a statement issued in response to the allegations, Ansari said: “We ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual. The next day, I got a text from her saying that although it may have seemed okay she felt uncomfortable. I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately.”