Aziz Ansari has responded to an anonymous account published on the website Babe over the weekend, in which a woman who went on a date with him in September 2017 accuses the Master of None star and Modern Romance author of sexual misconduct. The anonymous woman, identified by Babe as “Grace,” describes the late September date (at the time, Grace was 22 and Ansari was 34) as the “worst night of my life,” and in her detailed and sometimes graphic account, she alleges that Ansari ignored her “verbal and non-verbal cues” to indicate she was uncomfortable with Ansari’s aggressive and unwanted sexual advances, which made her feel “really pressured.” Here’s an excerpt from the piece (which you can read in full here):
Ansari also physically pulled her hand towards his penis multiple times throughout the night, from the time he first kissed her on the countertop onward. “He probably moved my hand to his dick five to seven times,” she said. “He really kept doing it after I moved it away.” But the main thing was that he wouldn’t let her move away from him. She compared the path they cut across his apartment to a football play. “It was 30 minutes of me getting up and moving and him following and sticking his fingers down my throat again. It was really repetitive. It felt like a fucking game.” Throughout the course of her short time in the apartment, she says she used verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable and distressed she was. “Most of my discomfort was expressed in me pulling away and mumbling. I know that my hand stopped moving at some points,” she said. “I stopped moving my lips and turned cold.” Whether Ansari didn’t notice Grace’s reticence or knowingly ignored it is impossible for her to say. “I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested. I don’t think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored.”
The anonymous woman told Babe that she decided to come forward after seeing Ansari wearing a “Time’s Up” pin at last week’s Golden Globes, where he won in the Best Actor category for Master of None. “It was actually painful to watch him win and accept an award. And absolutely cringeworthy that he was wearing the Time’s Up pin. I think that started a new fire, and it kind of made it more real,” she said. “I believe that I was taken advantage of by Aziz. I was not listened to and ignored. It was by far the worst experience with a man I’ve ever had.”
Ansari released below response to the anonymous account, in which he confirms the date, claims that the encounter was “completely consensual,” and says he will “continue to support the movement” surrounding #MeToo and Times Up:
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. 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. I 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.
The Ansari allegations have since stirred up an incredibly polarized debate about silence, power, and consent on Twitter and elsewhere (compare The Atlantic’s scathing piece “The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari” with these tweets from writer Jessica Valenti; Ansari’s Master of None costar Noël Wells also posted a tweet in response to the news). Still, it’s disappointing to find out that a comedian who co-wrote a book on dating and has used late night interviews to joke about why he’s a feminist behave this way privately with women. Also worth mentioning: Ansari claims in his new statement that he “supports” the “necessary and long overdue” movement, but he’s been radio silent when it comes to Louis C.K. and Dave Becky and has long directly refused to answer questions about the C.K. allegations. If the praise surrounding Dan Harmon’s recent (and accepted) apology to Megan Ganz proves anything, it’s that in order for men to be true allies in the #MeToo era, they’ve got to do some painful, uncomfortable, honest, public self-reflection first.