Reporter Behind Aziz Ansari Story Ridicules HLN Host in Scathing Email

The reporter who broke the story accusing Aziz Ansari of sexual misconduct sent HLN host Ashleigh Banfield's bosses a scathing email about the 50-year-old journalist after she criticized the Ansari story on-air on Monday.

On Wednesday's telecast of her show on HLN, Banfield read an excerpt of the email from Katie Way, the reporter who broke the story from "Grace," who described a bad date with Aziz Ansari and put him under the microscope for sexual misconduct.

"The reporter that wielded those powerful words sent some choice words my way," Banfield introduces in a clip from the broadcast. "I want to share this because I think this gives some insight into the caliber of the person who wielded that nuclear weapon at Aziz Ansari's career. The caliber of this 22-year-old young women … I assume she fashions herself a feminist in this movement."

Banfield reads, " 'Ashleigh — someone I assume no one under the age of 45 has ever heard of — I hope the 500 retweets on the single news write-up made that burgundy lipstick, bad highlights, second wave-feminist has-been really relevant for a little while…' "

Banfield concludes the clip angrily, "If you truly believe in feminism, the last thing you should do is attack someone in an ad hominem way for her age — I'm 50 — for my highlights — I was brown-haired for a while when I was a war correspondent interviewing Yasser Arafat and in Afganistan, Iraq, Gaza and the West Bank — Google those places. That's not the way we have those conversations as women or as men. We don't attack — as journalists — we do not attack people for their age, or their highlights or their lipstick. It is the most hypocritical thing a woman who says she supports the woman's movement could ever do."

The HLN host noted that she only read a "slight part" of Way's email, more of which was given to Business Insider by to give more context to the situation.

In the full email, Way declared Banfield's original report, "one of the lowest, most despicable things I've ever seen in my entire life … 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— met before, for a little attention...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…"

Previously, Banfield slammed the original piece from, in which an anonymous woman with the pseudonym of "Grace" told her story to Way about her experience with Ansari, an Emmy-winning actor and comedian with whom she had an awkward and unpleasant date.

"Dear Grace (not your real name)," Banfield began on Monday, using the woman's pseudonym. "I'm sorry that you had a bad date. I have had a few myself. They stink." She later added, "But let's take a moment to reflect on what you claim was the 'worst night of your life…' "

"You had a bad date," Banfield continued. "Your date got overly amorous. After protesting his moves, you did not get up and leave right away. You continued to engage in the sexual encounter. By your own clear description, this was not a rape, nor was it a sexual assault."

In her recollection of the evening, the woman stated, "I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault. And that's why I confronted so many of my friends and listened to what they had to say, because I wanted validation that it was actually bad."

"By your description, your sexual encounter was unpleasant. It did not send you to the police, it did not affect your workplace, or your ability to get a job," Banfield added. "So I have to ask you, what exactly was your beef? 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 truly what you thought he deserved for your night out?"

The reporter also said, "You're 23. What a gift. Yet you look that gift horse in the mouth and chiseled away at that powerful movement with your public accusation. You had an unpleasant date. And you did not leave. That is on you. 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 gonna call them reckless and hollow."

Following the accusations him, Ansari released a statement explaining the situation from his perspective.

"In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on a date. We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual," his statement began.


"The next day, I got a text from her saying that although 'it may have seemed okay,' upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned," he then added.

Ansari concluded his statement by saying that he "took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said. I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue."