NOTE: This article contains language some readers might find offensive. Please read at your own discretion.
On her show Wednesday, HLN host Ashleigh Banfield publicly admonished Babe.net reporter Katie Way, who previously lashed out at her in an email. Way sent the email to Banfield after she criticized the site‘s Jan. 13 story documenting a date between an anonymous woman and comedian Aziz Ansari.
Banfield — a former Global News reporter — disagreed with the article’s author, known only as “Grace,” saying that her time with Ansari was just a “bad date.”
Speaking on her show Crime & Justice, Banfield took multiple shots at Grace, saying that when the date got “overly amorous” and she began “protesting [Ansari’s] moves,” that she “did not get up and leave” and “continued to engage in the sexual encounter.”
WATCH BELOW: Ashleigh Banfield has some words for Grace, the Aziz Ansari accuser
Banfield criticized Grace’s claims, saying that “by your own clear description, this wasn’t a rape, nor was it a sexual assault. By your description, your sexual encounter was unpleasant.”
The host accused Grace of taking away the power of the #MeToo movement, meant to empower women facing sexual abuse.
HLN then sought an interview with Way and asked her to appear on the network. Way responded in an email, unequivocally saying no to HLN and attacking Banfield for her comments about Grace. Here is the email’s text in its entirety:
“It’s an unequivocal no from me. The way your colleague Ashleigh (?), someone I’m certain no one under the age of 45 has ever heard of, by the way, ripped into my source directly was one of the lowest, most despicable things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Shame on her. Shame on HLN. Ashleigh could have ‘talked’ to me. She could have ‘talked’ to my editor or my publication. But instead, she targeted a 23-year-old woman in one of the most vulnerable moments of her life, someone she’s never f**king met before, for a little attention. I hope the ratings were worth it! I hope the ~500 RTs on the single news write-up made that burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been feel really relevant for a little while. She DISGUSTS me, and I hope when she has more distance from the moment she has enough of a conscience left to feel remotely ashamed — doubt it, but still. Must be nice to piggyback off of the fact that another woman was brave enough to speak up and add another dimension to the societal conversation about sexual assault. Grace wouldn’t know how that feels, because she struck out into this alone, because she’s the bravest person I’ve ever met. I would NEVER go on your network. I would never even watch your network. No woman my age would ever watch your network. I will remember this for the rest of my career — I’m 22 and so far, not too shabby! And I will laugh the day you fold. If you could let Ashleigh know I said this, and that she is no-holds-barred the reason, it’d be a real treat for me.
Banfield read an excerpt of the email on the air, and gave this introduction about Way:
“I want to share this because I think this gives us an insight into the calibre of the person who held that nuclear weapon that was wielded on Ansari’s career. The calibre of this 22-year-old woman,” said Banfield.
Banfield said she shared the letter because “this is not the way we have this conversation as women or men, we don’t attack — as journalists, let’s be frank — we do not attack people for their age or their highlights or lipstick, because it is the most hypocritical thing a woman who says she supports the women’s movement could do.”
She also mentioned that her hair was brown for awhile when she “was a war correspondent interviewing Yasser Arafat in Afghanistan and Iraq and on the West Bank. Google those places.”
As of this writing, Way has not responded to Banfield’s remarks.
(You can watch Banfield’s segment in the video, top.)