Aziz Ansari responds to sexual assault allegations and people have never been more divided

Indian-American comedian and Golden Globe winner Aziz Ansari is the latest among the men of Hollywood to be accused of sexual misconduct. Aziz has now responded to the allegations leveled by a 23-year-old photographer, known only by the pseudonym Grace, who went on a date with the actor on September 25, 2017. 

Grace wrote about her date night, which she describes as "the worst night" of her life, on the women's website Babe. In the post, the Brooklyn-based photographer says that although she enjoyed flirtatious conversations with the Master of None creator in the beginning of the night, it ended with her tearfully texting friends about the horrible date she had with Aziz.  

In the article, she details how Aziz kept trying to push her boundaries even though she made her discomfort obvious. “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," she explains.  

At some point during the night, he had also acknowledged that both of them need to be having fun, after she told him, “I said I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you."

Despite this, he had compelled her to go down on him and she went ahead with it even though she did not want to, because, "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.” 

After the night was over, Grace reached out to Aziz to inform him that he was out of line and in the texts they exchanged, Aziz acknowledges that he may have missed certain signals from her because he was caught up in the moment.   

Grace has revealed that she felt compelled to reveal her story after the Golden Globes, where Aziz, clad in a black suit and a Time's Up pin, had accepted the award for best actor in a musical or comedy. “It was actually painful to watch him win and accept an award," revealed Grace, adding, “And absolutely cringe-worthy that he was wearing the Time’s Up pin.”

Aziz Ansari poses with his award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy for 'Master of None' (Getty Images)

Since then, Aziz has issued a statement responding to the allegations, in which he has acknowledged the events that happened.

It reads as follows: 

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 OK’, upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem OK 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 allegation against Aziz has divided the internet more binarily than any cases before him. Especially considering he is among the most "woke" comedians, who have spoken about topics of sexual harassment, feminism and equality, people find it hard to believe that he would be insensitive to a woman's clear indications of disinterest and discomfort. Meanwhile, others point out that "nice men" using their niceness to get their way is all too common in the dating world.   

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Mangala Dilip


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