HLN host Ashleigh Banfield recently took the time during her segment on "Crime and Justice" to deliver an "open letter" to the anonymous woman behind Aziz Ansari's sexual misconduct accusations. "Let's take a moment to reflect on what you claim was 'the worst night of your life,'" Banfield opened with.
Banfield then delivered a minimizing account of what she described as "an overly amorous date" and then proceeded to blame the accuser—who is referred to as Grace—for not leaving after trying to deflect Ansari's repeated advances. Banfield's statement got even more baffling when she went on to call Grace's behavior in speaking out "appalling," and followed her scathing remark by saying she has also been a victim of sexual misconduct. "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.”
Banfield alleged that this woman's account was undermining to the overall cause of the #MeToo and #Time'sUp movements. "And all the gains that have been achieved on your behalf and mine are now being compromised by the allegations that you threw out there — and I'm going to call reckless and hollow," she said in closing. To some, the journalist's comments seemed to be reason for praise in standing up against someone who simply "had a bad date" and "didn't leave."
While others are in agreement that her comments were misplaced, divisive, and only acted to further encourage women to stay silent about their uncomfortable sexual encounters.