New York Times staff editor Bari Weiss is defending her much-discussed piece in the New York Times that blasted the woman who accused Aziz Ansari of impropriety during a date in a recent story on the website Babe.
During an interview with “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Tuesday, Weiss said the anonymous accuser didn’t have a case against Ansari and should have just left his apartment during the encounter.
“At any moment in that situation — yes, he’s a celebrity, yes, he has more money, but he has no power of you, he has no power over your future or your job, anything, she could just get up and leave,” said Weiss. “I know I’ll get crushed for saying this but it’s true.”
“Having been in similar situations myself as has every breathing woman on the planet that I know, it’s a hard thing to do,” she added. “So I’m not blaming her for doing it. I’m not blaming her for a night of bad sex. The problem is to group this story in with what we’re talking about with MeToo is extremely problematic.”
On Saturday, the website Babe published a lengthy piece detailing how Ansari had ignored “verbal and non-verbal cues” from an anonymous woman identified as “Grace” before a sexual encounter.
The sex “by all indications was completely consensual,” said Ansari in a statement. “I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”
In her op-ed, Weiss elaborated that the Babe story was a major setback for women’s empowerment.
“The single most distressing thing to me about Grace’s story is that the only person with any agency in the story seems to be Aziz Ansari. Grace is merely acted upon,” writes Weiss. “There is a useful term for what Grace experienced on her night with Mr. Ansari. It’s called ‘bad sex.’ It sucks.”
The column dovetails well with Brzezinski’s increasingly critical comments about the broader MeToo movement on set. As TheWrap previously reported, Brzezinski challenged movement orthodoxy by suggesting all women should not necessarily be believed and that she knew men who were moving away from hiring women because of MeToo.
Brzezinski told Weiss that she had read the column but had feared the possible online reaction from sharing it.
“I will be honest,” she said. “I thought twice. I thought it was a really great piece and I was too scared to share it.”