Aziz Ansari Responds to Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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Over the weekend, an article was published, accusing actor and comedian Aziz Ansari of sexual misconduct. The woman in the article, Grace (not her real name), alleges that Ansari pressured her into sexual acts and made her feel incredibly uncomfortable and unsafe. The article, “I Went on a Date with Aziz Ansari. It Turned Into the Worst Night of My Life” has been the subject of much discussion since it went viral, about everything from consent to the fine line between sexual assault and missed cues. On Sunday, Ansari responded to the allegations alleged in the article.

Aziz Ansari is best-known for his role on Parks and Rec, his stand-up specials, and his show on Netflix, Master of None. At the Golden Globes last weekend, he wore a Time’s Up pin. So the allegations in the article took many, many people by surprise.

Grace says that she met Ansari at an Emmy’s after-party in 2017. The two flirted a bit, and at the end of the evening, she gave him her phone number. A week of text messages back and forth led to a dinner date in New York. That’s when, according to Grace, things went very wrong.

Grace was initially excited for their date, and things started off well. But she says Ansari seemed anxious to leave the restaurant, and moved things along very quickly. They eventually ended up back at his apartment.

Things went from bad to worse once they got to his place. Grace says a compliment about his counter tops turned into a sexually charged suggestion. According to Grace, “He said something along the lines of, ‘How about you hop up and take a seat?'” Within moments, he was kissing her. ‘In a second, his hand was on my breast.’ Then he was undressing her, then he undressed himself. She remembers feeling uncomfortable at how quickly things escalated.”

Ansari told her he was going to get a condom, and she told him she would like to slow down and expressed hesitation. There was more kissing, and oral sex between the two. Grace says she felt trapped, like Ansari was preventing her from leaving and kept up a sort of cat-and-mouse game.

Grace told Babe that she used verbal and non-verbal cues to express her discomfort with the situation, and that Ansari either ignored or didn’t pick up on them. She eventually made her escape, and texted with friends after the encounter. She told one friend, “I had to say no a lot. He wanted sex. He wanted to get me drunk and then fuck me.” And she texted another, “I’m taking a bath I’m really upset I feel weird.” She also exchanged texts with Ansari, where she expressed her dismay and discomfort with the situation.

Aziz Ansari has responded to the allegations. In his statement, he recalls the sexual activity “completely consensual.”

“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 article and Ansari’s response has started a much-needed conversation about consent. Sometimes, it’s about more than “no means no”. Instead of waiting for women to say “no”, we need to be waiting for them to enthusiastically say “YES”. There are many reasons women feel like they can’t say no, or they shouldn’t say no, or they don’t feel safe enough to say “NO”.

Consent is about more than not hearing the word no. It’s about hearing the word YES.

(Image: Instagram / @azizansari)