The morning after HLN host Ashleigh Banfield delivered a strong rebuke to the woman who accused Aziz Ansari of sexual misconduct, the comedian gained another prominent media defender in the form of The View’s Whoopi Goldberg.
To recap, over the weekend, a Brooklyn photographer using the pseudonym “Grace” gave an interview to the website Babe in which she laid out in excruciating detail a recent date with Ansari that she described as the “worst night” of her life. According to her account, Ansari’s aggressive behavior in his apartment rose to the level of “sexual assault,” though she admits she never verbally told him to stop.
Ansari says he was a “surprised and concerned” when she texted him the next day to say she felt violated by him. “I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said,” he wrote in a statement on Sunday.
“So, the question then, for me, becomes what is a non-verbal cue?” Goldberg asked on The View Tuesday. Meghan McCain, the youngest of the hosts, said she did not know what that term meant either and said she was “concerned about what this does to the #MeToo movement.”
“So, if you’re on a date and he’s not as a good as you thought, and you’re uncomfortable and [giving non-verbal cues], does that mean stop, go away?” Goldberg posited. “Whatever happened to ‘Stop or I’m going to knock you in your nuts?’” That line received loud applause from the majority female audience.
Co-host Sunny Hostin, a former prosecutor, agreed that this story as it was told by the alleged victim does not rise to the level of “sexual assault,” because “she went willingly back to his apartment, they did engage in sexual activity consensually, and then somewhere along the lines she decided that she had had enough and wanted to go home.”
That assessment relies on a definition of “consent” that may be too loose for some, but as she also pointed out, Ansari did not try to stop the woman from leaving but instead actually called her an Uber to go home.
Goldberg ended the segment with some advice to young women. If they are “not interested” in sex with a date, then don’t go back to their apartment, she suggested. “You make the decision,” she said. “If you’re looking for that, then it’s quite possible that you could get it if you go. But if you’re not looking for that, chances are you might just want to say, ‘It’s been nice seeing you this evening.’”
“The line is very, very clear,” she added. “If you are not interested in having a physical relationship… then say goodnight after dinner.”