Aziz Ansari issued a statement Sunday night following an anonymous report from Babe 24 hours earlier, where a woman accused Ansari of sexual misconduct during a date the two went on in September.
In a statement to Mashable, Ansari essentially agreed with the woman’s account of the evening, ending his note by stating that he “continue[s] to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”
“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. — Aziz Ansari
“Grace,” a 23-year-old photographer based in Brooklyn, told Babe that she and Ansari went to a restaurant and then to his home, where, very quickly, things started to escalate with a speed that made her uncomfortable.
“Everything was pretty much touched and done within ten minutes of hooking up, except for actual sex,” she said.
What followed, according to Grace, was an evening of Ansari making advances that she tried to reject through both verbal and non-verbal cues. He moved her hand to his genitals, and when she tried to move it away, pulled it back — this happened “five to seven times,” she said.
When she would try to get away from him, he would follow her around the apartment. “It was 30 minutes of me getting up and moving and him following and sticking his fingers down my throat again,” she said. “It was really repetitive. It felt like a fucking game.”
At one point, Grace told Ansari, “I said I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you.” She says he reacted well at first, agreeing that “it’s only fun if we’re both having fun.” Then he invited her to “chill” on the couch — where, Grace remembered:
He sat back and pointed to his penis and motioned for me to go down on him. And I did. I think I just felt really pressured. It was literally the most unexpected thing I thought would happen at that moment because I told him I was uncomfortable.
Ansari allegedly continued trying to get her to have sex with him, leading her to a mirror and pantomiming intercourse. When she turned him down, he suggested they “just chill, but this time with our clothes on.” Once on the couch, he continued making his moves: first kissing her, then sticking his fingers down her throat, then trying to undo her pants.
The next day, Grace confronted Ansari about his behavior in a text message.
This is the text Grace* sent Aziz Ansari after their date which left her feeling “violated”. She tells Ansari how uncomfortable he made her feel, saying “you ignored clear non-verbal cues” and “kept going with advances.”
— babe (@babedotnet) January 14, 2018
According to Babe, this woman sent Ansari a text the next day letting him know how terrible she felt, and he replied with an apology.
The story stands in stark contrast to Ansari’s reputation, not just as a self-proclaimed feminist, but as someone who’s thought deeply about dating and sex in the modern age.
His show, Master of None (for which he just won a Golden Globe) chronicles the complications of millennial romance. The most recent season even had a storyline about a charismatic celebrity who turns out to be a sexual harasser.
Yet if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past several months, it’s that plenty of men hide their bad behavior under a cloak of progressive respectability. Any dude can put on a Time’s Up pin and look nice for the cameras.
Whether that guy actually does the right thing when no one’s looking is another matter entirely.