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HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield Criticized for Interviewing Man Who Claims to Be Chris Watts’ Gay Lover

HLN’s Crime & Justice host Ashleigh Banfield received backlash on Twitter on Tuesday, August 28, for interviewing an anonymous man claiming to be alleged murderer Chris Watts’ lover.

Ashleigh Banfield Criticized Chris Watts Gay Lover Interview
Ashleigh Banfield attends the 10th Anniversary CNN Heroes at American Museum of Natural History on December 11, 2016 in New York City. Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

Related: Chris Watts Murder Case: Everything We Know So Far

“@HLNTV I hope you have some proof from this guy before you put him on TV! #chriswatts,” one user wrote.

A second person tweeted, “@TVAshleigh I don’t think you should be interviewing the alleged ‘secret male lover’ of #ChrisWatts As you say, you haven’t corroborated him & his story. This could taint the jury pool. I’m not finding him credible so far. @CrimeJusticeHLN.”

“@HLNTV @TVAshleigh your ‘former lover’ interview lowers your bar,” another commenter wrote. “He sounds non-credible, drugged, and can’t provide details he hasn’t gotten from the news. #JustUseAMagic8Ball.”

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“Funny how he happened to lose signal when the questions got hard,” a fourth person wrote. “I’m so bothered that they gave him this platform. It’s such poor journalism. Do they not realize a jury will ultimately need to be selected? It would be nice if everyone wasn’t already full of misinformation.”

Watts made headlines earlier this month after he was arrested and charged for nine felonies, including first-degree murder of his then-pregnant wife, Shanann, and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. According to allegations in an arrest affidavit obtained by Us Weekly on August 21, police confirmed the 33-year-old Colorado resident was unfaithful to his wife after conducting a two-day investigation. Watts claimed to police that he told Shanann he was having an affair with a coworker and wanted to separate. He told officers that he then saw her strangling their daughter and killed Shanann in a fit of ‘”rage.”

The alleged lover told Banfield on HLN, which is owned by CNN, that he met Chris on a dating app called Meet Me and the two men had a 10-month long relationship. (Banfield made it clear that HLN reached out to the man and cannot prove his accusations thus far.)

“He reached out to me and messaged me,” he alleged. “It was very much small talk, he told me his age, he told me had two daughters, he told me that he was looking for a relationship in the long run. I asked him why his profile said straight if he was messaging me and she he said that he was not out and not ready to be out.”

Chris Watts mugshot murder wife kids
Chris Watts Frederick Police Department

He added: “We had many conversations. I had asked him if he was sure he is not bisexual because he obviously had two children and he told me that he didn’t know, but as of that moment, he was attracted to me and only me as a male.”

The alleged paramour also claimed that he found out Chris was married after his older daughter, who was allegedly in the car during one of their meet-ups, “made a comment asking if she could sleep with him and mommy tonight.” The alleged lover also claimed that he caught Chris in “lies.”

Related: Most Infamous Family Murders in History

“There were certain things he wouldn’t tell me,” he claimed. “There were just lots of red flags. … Come December I knew that there were secrets that he was keeping from me. I didn’t know what exactly, but I knew that there were secrets.”

Us Weekly has reached out to Banfield’s rep for comment.

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