Lena Waithe Addresses Aziz Ansari Sexual-Misconduct Allegation: ‘It’s Not Always Black-and-White’

Ansari and Waithe. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Less than a month after Aziz Ansari was accused by a photographer of sexual misconduct, his friend and Master of None collaborator Lena Waithe is addressing the allegation. “Here’s the truth — in every situation, it’s not always black-and-white. And I know that’s simple for people, and it’s easy for people to [ask], Whose side are you on? There are no sides, really, in some of these scenarios,” Waithe explained to KPCC’s The Frame. “I’m not on Harvey Weinstein’s side, I’m not on Kevin Spacey’s side. But I think you have to take each situation [individually]. You can’t just say, Well, I’m on this person’s team or I’m on that person’s team. It doesn’t work that way.”

Waithe says that we should continue with a “dialogue” about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior in the workplace and beyond, in addition to reeducating ourselves about consent. “I think if we’re unwilling to have a dialogue we’re gonna continue to keep hitting our heads against the wall,” she explained. “We have to create codes of conduct. Those are things that we need. ’Cause also I think there’s an element of — how do you know if you’re breaking a rule if you aren’t aware of the rules? Or how do you know what appropriate behavior is if no one’s ever communicated to you what appropriate behavior is? Even though some people may assume, Well, of course we all know what appropriate behavior is, but some people may not know.”

In addition to acting alongside Ansari in Master of None, Waithe co-wrote one of the show’s most popular episodes, “Thanksgiving,” which netted her an Emmy win in 2017. During her rousing speech, she described Ansari, “a little Indian boy from South Carolina,” as her “chosen family.”

Lena Waithe Addresses Aziz Ansari Sexual-Misconduct Claim